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Engineering Ethics Originally Presented by Prof. Rick Vaz Modified by Prof. Bitar ECE 2799 – LAST UPDATE: 12-12-13.

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Presentation on theme: "Engineering Ethics Originally Presented by Prof. Rick Vaz Modified by Prof. Bitar ECE 2799 – LAST UPDATE: 12-12-13."— Presentation transcript:

1 Engineering Ethics Originally Presented by Prof. Rick Vaz Modified by Prof. Bitar ECE 2799 – LAST UPDATE:

2 A Classic Case…

3 1980 Ford Pinto 0%20Ford%20Pinto%20Brochure/1980%20Ford%20Pi nto%20Brochure%2001.jpg

4

5 com/Library/ArticlesPage /tabid/85/ArticleID/166/ Ford-Pinto.aspx

6 1978 Ford Cost-Benefit Analysis... Unsafe tanks would cause… Unsafe tanks would cause… 180 burn deaths, 180 burn deaths, 180 serious burn injuries 180 serious burn injuries 2,100 burned vehicles each year. 2,100 burned vehicles each year. Total Liability: $49.5 million per year. Total Liability: $49.5 million per year. Redesign: $137 million per year. Redesign: $137 million per year. (in 1978 dollars)

7 PR Nightmare for Ford Thank You Ralph Nader !!!!

8 Decisions in Engineering Through the Years 1978: Ford sells “Pinto” despite known design problem with gas tank—hundreds die 1978: Ford sells “Pinto” despite known design problem with gas tank—hundreds die 1984: Union Carbide ignores Bhopal safety procedures—2,000 die; 200,000 injured 1984: Union Carbide ignores Bhopal safety procedures—2,000 die; 200,000 injured 1986: Challenger launched in cold despite O-ring concerns—crew dies, $ billions spent, space program derailed 1986: Challenger launched in cold despite O-ring concerns—crew dies, $ billions spent, space program derailed

9 What ethical problems do you expect to face as an engineer?

10 What ethical problems do you face now, as an engineering student?

11 More Decisions Through the Years 2010: Student uses pirated software 2010: Student uses pirated software 2011: Student copies homework assignment 2011: Student copies homework assignment 2012: Student plagiarizes part of IQP 2012: Student plagiarizes part of IQP 2013: Student signs MQP report despite not doing fair share of work—partners cover for him 2013: Student signs MQP report despite not doing fair share of work—partners cover for him 2013: WPI grants student ECE Degree 2013: WPI grants student ECE Degree 2013: Raytheon hires student to design Air Traffic Control Systems 2013: Raytheon hires student to design Air Traffic Control Systems

12 The Law of Sowing and Reaping Sow a Thought, Reap an Action. Sow a Thought, Reap an Action. Sow an Action, Reap a Habit. Sow an Action, Reap a Habit. Sow a Habit, Reap your Character. Sow a Habit, Reap your Character. Sow your Character, Reap your Destiny. Sow your Character, Reap your Destiny. “Character Determines Destiny” Heraclitus of Ephesus 500 BC

13 A Context for Today’s Discussion Your “professional career” has already begun… Your “professional career” has already begun… You are already expressing your ethical standards; they are what you do… You are already expressing your ethical standards; they are what you do… Contrary to popular belief, personal and professional ethics cannot be separated, without imposing an ethical dilemma … Contrary to popular belief, personal and professional ethics cannot be separated, without imposing an ethical dilemma …

14 Some Difficult Questions When is a lie justified? When is a lie justified? When is it OK to break the law? When is it OK to break the law? When do the ends justify the means? When do the ends justify the means? When does public interest override profit? When does public interest override profit? Will you be a whistleblower? Will you be a whistleblower?

15 Real-World Ethical Problems “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice... In practice, there is.” Yogi Berra “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice... In practice, there is.” Yogi Berra Rarely is there clear “right” or “wrong” Rarely is there clear “right” or “wrong” Often you are choosing between competing interests, both of which matter Often you are choosing between competing interests, both of which matter

16 A Simple Google Search Reveals: Online Ethics Center for Engineering & Science Online Ethics Center for Engineering & Science NIEE (National Institute for Engineering Ethics) NIEE (National Institute for Engineering Ethics) NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers) NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers) IEEE (and many others) Code of Ethics IEEE (and many others) Code of Ethics Web Clearinghouse for Engineering and Computing Ethics Web Clearinghouse for Engineering and Computing Ethics Course and resource pages at many universities (ABET requirement) Course and resource pages at many universities (ABET requirement)

17 Core Ethical Values (NIEE) Integrity: good judgment, adherence to principles Integrity: good judgment, adherence to principles Honesty: truthfulness, fairness, sincerity Honesty: truthfulness, fairness, sincerity Fidelity: to clients, to the public trust, to employer, to the profession Fidelity: to clients, to the public trust, to employer, to the profession Charity: kindness, caring, good will, tolerance, compassion/mercy, adherence to the Golden Rule Charity: kindness, caring, good will, tolerance, compassion/mercy, adherence to the Golden Rule Responsibility: reliability/dependability, accountability, trustworthiness Responsibility: reliability/dependability, accountability, trustworthiness Self-Discipline: acting with restraint, not indulging in excessive behavior Self-Discipline: acting with restraint, not indulging in excessive behavior

18 IEEE Code of Ethics “We, the members of the IEEE, in recognition of the importance of our technologies in affecting the quality of life throughout the world, and in accepting a personal obligation to our profession, its members and the communities we serve, do hereby commit ourselves to the highest ethical and professional conduct and agree: 1. to accept responsibility in making engineering decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment; 2. to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, and to disclose them to affected parties when they do exist; 3. to be honest and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data; 4. to reject bribery in all its forms;

19 IEEE Code of Ethics, cont’d 5. to improve the understanding of technology, its appropriate application, and potential consequences; 6. to maintain and improve our technical competence and to undertake technological tasks for others only if qualified by training or experience, or after full disclosure of pertinent limitations; 7. to seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit properly the contributions of others; 8. to treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age, or national origin; 9. to avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious action; 10. to assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in following this code of ethics.”

20 Example Moral Standard: The Categorical Imperative ( Immanuel Kant, ) “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

21 Using the Categorical Imperative to Judge an Action Convert the action to a principle Convert the action to a principle Would it be logical for you to want everyone to follow that principle? Would it be logical for you to want everyone to follow that principle? Yes—action is moral Yes—action is moral No—action is immoral No—action is immoral Kant’s favorite examples Kant’s favorite examples Suicide Suicide False promises False promises Failing to develop one’s abilities Failing to develop one’s abilities Refusing to be charitable Refusing to be charitable

22 Moral Codes … What is your basis for judging right from wrong? “The Ten Commandments” “The Ten Commandments” “Eye for an Eye” “Eye for an Eye” “The Golden Rule” (the foundation for many codes of ethics) “The Golden Rule” (the foundation for many codes of ethics) Others? Others?

23 Things you can do to avoid ethical dilemmas in your career… Think about your own beliefs and values and adopt a code of ethics you believe in. Think about your own beliefs and values and adopt a code of ethics you believe in. Ask a potential employer what their core values are and what they stand for, before accepting a job. Ask a potential employer what their core values are and what they stand for, before accepting a job. Make it clear, where you stand. Make it clear, where you stand. Work for something you believe in. Work for something you believe in.

24 Story… “If he’s going to be stupid enough to leave it out, I’m not going to be stupid enough not to take it….”

25 “Ethics as Design”—Caroline Whitbeck Analyzing the situation is not enough Analyzing the situation is not enough You must do something that resolves the issue You must do something that resolves the issue Ethical problems require practical design Ethical problems require practical design Constraints, objectives, criteria Constraints, objectives, criteria There may not even be a “solution” There may not even be a “solution” But usually, there are many But usually, there are many There is no unique “right answer” There is no unique “right answer” There are plenty of “bad answers” There are plenty of “bad answers” Some answers are better than others Some answers are better than others

26 Designing a Solution Define the problem Define the problem What’s known? What’s ambiguous? What’s known? What’s ambiguous? Explore solutions Explore solutions Brainstorm—go beyond the obvious Brainstorm—go beyond the obvious Consider criteria Consider criteria Moral standards, professional standards, laws Moral standards, professional standards, laws Consider consequences Consider consequences Professional, personal, legal, moral Professional, personal, legal, moral


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