- Slides: 21
LECTURE 5 RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICAL ISSUES IN ENGINEERING
CONTENT �Societal and global impact of engineering solutions �Codes of ethics in engineering �Risk-taking in engineering
IMPACT OF ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) expresses the need for this global and societal perspective as follows: ‘… engineering colleges must not only provide their graduates with intellectual development and superb technical capabilities, but, following industry’s lead, [they] must educate their students to work as part of teams, communicate well, and understand the economic, social, environmental, and international context of their professional activities’
The US Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) included in the learning outcomes for engineering programmes that graduates must have the broad education to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global/societal context (Lecture 4).
Impact of engineerin g Societal Global
Design a dam for generating hydroelectric power Positive impact No pollution or green gas emissions Flooding under control Negativ e impact Ponding Euthophication Fish population in danger
WHAT IS ENGINEERING ETHICS? � Engineering ethics is professional ethics, as opposed to personal morality. � It sets the standards for professional practice, and is only learned in a professional school or in professional practice. � It is an essential part of professional education because it helps students deal with issues they will face in professional practice.
HOW TO LEARN ENGINEERING ETHICS? � By using cases—not just the disaster cases that make the news, but the kinds of cases that an engineer is more likely to encounter. � Many cases are available, and there are methods for analyzing them. � Engineering is something that engineers do, and what they do has profound effects on others.
SUBJECT OF ENGINEERING ETHICS If the subject of professional ethics is how members of a profession should, or should not, affect others in the course of practicing their profession, then engineering ethics is an essential aspect of engineering itself and education in professional responsibilities should be part of professional education in engineering, just as it is in law and medicine.
PROFESSIONAL ETHICS � These are special morally permissible standards of conduct that, ideally, every member of a profession wants every other member to follow, even if that would mean having to do the same. � Ethics applies to members of a group simply because they are members of that group.
STANDARDS OF ENGINEERING ETHICS � The special standards that constitute engineering ethics are what are to be taught. � They have been formulated in different codes of ethics, in formal interpretations of those codes, and in the less formal practices by which engineers pass on the special ways they do things to each new generation of engineers.
ENGINEERING ETHICS � Engineering ethics is as much a part of what engineers in particular know as factors of safety, testing procedures, or ways to design for reliability, durability, or economy. � Engineering ethics is part of thinking like an engineer. � Learning engineering ethics is part of learning engineering.
CODES OF ETHICS � 1. Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties. � 2. Engineers shall perform services only in the areas of their competence. � 3. Engineers shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner. � 4. Engineers shall act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest.
CODE OF ETHICS (2) � 5. Engineers shall build their professional reputation on the merit of their services and shall not compete unfairly with others. � 6. Engineers shall act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity and dignity of the profession. � 7. Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers and shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision.
RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP: LISTENING AND INFORMING Professional Engineers should aspire to high standards of leadership in the exploitation and management of technology. � They hold a privileged and trusted position in society, and are expected to demonstrate that they are seeking to serve wider society and to be sensitive to public concerns. They should: � be aware of the issues that engineering and technology raise for society, and listen to the aspirations and concerns of others. � actively promote public awareness and understanding of the impact and benefits of engineering achievements. � be objective and truthful in any statement made in their professional capacity. �
RISK-TAKING IN ENGINEERING Knowledge is always incomplete – Truth in all contexts is unavailable. � Decisions are based on evidence. Evidence has varying ‘pedigree’ varying from the highly testable truth content of Newton’s Laws to experienced opinions about the future variations in financial interest rates. We have to develop a better understanding of the dependability of evidence, how to assess it, how to capture the context in which it is dependable and importantly how to capture when it should not be used. � Truth is to knowledge as risk is to action. � Ethics has a central role because decisions are made using criteria. These criteria are expressions of worth i. e. values. �
RISK-TAKING IN ENGINEERING (2) All designed hard system processes are embedded in one or more soft system processes. � We have to understand risk better. This is a central task for a philosophy of engineering. � Highly interconnected systems can be vulnerable to small damage. We need to understand this better. � When systems fail it is not always the fault of an individual. Systems failures may be complex. These issues must be addressed in a dialogue with the general public so they understand better what is or is not a reasonable expectation of decision makers from politicians to engineers. This last point is of increasing importance in debates about climate change. �
CONCLUSION � The good engineer will be committed to high standards of trustworthiness and loyalty to employers and clients. � The good engineer will also have a commitment to promote human well-being through his or her professional work and to the dissemination of information that allows the public to engage in responsible deliberation about technology policy.
REFERENCES Martin, Mike & Schinzinger, Ronald: Ethics in Engineering, 3 rd Ed. Mc. Graw Hill. � http: //temp. onlinethics. org/cases/robot/article 1. htm/ � www. raeng. org. uk � www. dti. gov. uk/scienceandsociety/public_e ngagement/code/page 28030. html � 26. Blockley, David Integrating Hard and Soft Systems, University of Bristol, Bristol BS 8 1 TR, UK. �
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