ECE 1100 Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering
ECE 1100: Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering Lecture Notes Set #2 Dr. Dave Shattuck Associate Professor, ECE Dept. [email protected] 713 743-4422 W326-D3
Slides adapted from lectures by Len Trombetta Engineering Ethics References: Martin and Schinzinger, Ethics in Engineering, 2e., McGraw Hill, N. Y., 1989 Harris, Pritchard, and Rabins, Engineering Ethics, Wadsworth Publishing Co., N. Y., 1995
Definitions Engineering Ethics (Martin and Schinzinger): The study of moral issues and decisions confronting engineers. The study of questions about moral conduct, character, ideals, and relationships among people in engineering. Ethical Decision-Making
Ethical Decisions vs. Analytical Decisions Codes of Ethics National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) IEEE Definitions (cont)
Moral (Websters New Collegiate Dictionary) Of or relating to principles of right and wrong behavior: ethical. Conforming to a standard of right behavior. Sanctioned by or operative on ones conscience or ethical judgement. Is This a Problem?
Are engineers ethical? Heinzs Dilemma A woman dying from a rare disease must have an expensive drug that her doctors think will help her. She and her husband Heinz cannot afford the drug, in part because the local pharmacist is charging ten times the cost of producing the drug. The pharmacist has invented the drug and remains its only source. Heinz attempts to borrow the money but is
able to raise only half of what is needed. He asks the pharmacist to reduce the price or to accept half now and the remainder later, but the pharmacist refuses. In desperation, Heinz breaks into the pharmacy and steals the drug. Was Heinzs theft justified? Did Heinz do the right thing? Blame vs. Responsibility We can choose to... ...abide by minimum standards and attempt to
assign blame when something goes wrong, or ...assume positive responsibility by looking ahead to possible problems, and proactively asking what we can best do to minimize risk and harm. Blame vs. Responsibility We can choose to... ...abide by minimum standards and attempt to assign blame
when something goes wrong, or ...assume positive responsibility by looking ahead to possible problems, and proactively asking what we can best do to minimize risk and harm. The Bhopal Disaster (India, ca. 1984): A Union Carbide plant released a toxic cloud of gas (methyl isocyanate), exposing 100s of thousands. Cause: Systematic lack of concern for basic safety issues; gradual decay of safety procedures and worker training; shut-down of emergency systems to save money.
The Trade-Off Safety vs. Cost No product can be engineered to be absolutely safe, and still practical and affordable. No procedure can be made absolutely safe and effective, and still time-efficient and affordable. No engineering design can absolutely guarantee against misuse or potential flaws.
Confronting Moral Decisions Recognize moral issues. Gather the facts. Rank moral considerations. Consider alternatives. Talk with others for a sense of perspective. Weigh all factors in light of the facts.
Ethics at UH Academic Honesty Policy - Student Handbook, 2000-2001, pp. 8 - 11 The Engineers Creed Whistle-blowing Whistle-blowing: To convey information outside approved organizational channels to
bring attention to a problem within the organization. Whistle-Blowing: Considerations Evidence of potential harm to public is necessary. Documentation Consultation with colleagues Moral obligations based on
...responsibility to society ...responsibility to ones employer Whistle-Blowing: Considerations Personal Liability -most whistleblowers have suffered unhappy, even tragic fates. -generally it holds little promise as the best
possible method for remedying problems, and should be viewed as a last resort. -Martin and Schinzinger, Ethics in Engineering Homework on Videotape: Gilbane Gold A summary of the videotape is available to you on the web and the LAN.
The web address is: http://www.egr.uh.edu/courses/Ece1100/Engineering_Ethics_files/Gilbane. htm There is also a copy of the complete script for the videotape. It is available as a Adobe Acrobat file (pdf file) on the web and LAN, in the same directory. This file is copyrighted, but we have received permission to let you view it.
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