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Ethics in Electrical Engineering

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Ethics in Electrical Engineering. Professor Rich Kozick. Electrical Engineering Department ... IEEE Code of Ethics (1990) ... with the Code of Ethics? ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ethics in Electrical Engineering


1
Ethics in Electrical Engineering
  • Professor Rich Kozick
  • Electrical Engineering Department
  • December, 2000

2
IEEE Code of Ethics (1990)
  • 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

3
IEEE Code of Ethics
  • 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

4
IEEE Code of Ethics
  • 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

5
IEEE Code of Ethics
  • 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

6
IEEE Code of Ethics
  • 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

7
IEEE Code of Ethics
  • 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.

8
Steps in Ethical Analysis
  • What are the relevant facts?
  • What are the moral issues?
  • Who are the people affected?
  • What are the possible alternatives?
  • What are the expected outcomes?
  • What are the practical constraints?
  • All things considered, what actions can be
    morally justified?

9
Flaw in Intel Pentium Chip
  • Late 1994 media reports flaw in Pentium
  • Inaccuracies in divide for certain inputs
    degree depends on inputs and instructions.
  • Worst case fourth decimal digit 0.000X
  • Bit error in 1 out of every 360 billion randomly
    fed divides
  • Discovered by a university researcher errors
    easily reproducible
  • Widely reported by media

10
Intels Response
  • They acknowledged the defect, claimed
  • insignificant,
  • vast majority of users would never notice it.
  • Pentium replaced for free only for users with
    demonstrated need for unflawed chip.
  • Users not satisfied negative publicity!
  • Intel then replaced for anyone that asked.

11
The Rest of the Story
  • Intel was aware of the flaw long before the media
    coverage no plan to inform users.
  • Flaws are common in complex ICs!
  • This flaw was already corrected in next version
    (but not yet in production)
  • Intel continued to sell the flawed Pentiums, even
    after the media coverage planned to sell until
    supplies exhausted.

12
Questions
  • Is there an ethical issue? Or, merely public
    relations issues?
  • Should all defects be revealed to users?
  • Would a warning solve the dilemma This product
    may contain unexpected flaws and might not
    operate correctly under all conditions.
  • What to do when it is impossible to remove all
    defects in a product? (EE CS!)

13
Canons from IEEE Code of Ethics
  • 1. ... making engineering decisions consistent
    with the safety, health and welfare of the public
    …
  • 3. to be honest and realistic in stating claims
    or estimates based on available data
  • 7. to seek, accept, and offer honest criticism
    of technical work, to acknowledge and correct
    errors, …

14
Questions
  • Was Intels approach consistent with the Code of
    Ethics?
  • Initially, no plan to notify users of the known
    flaw with division
  • Replace Pentium upon request from users
  • Continue to sell Pentiums that were known to be
    flawed
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