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Ethics in Engineering

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Title: Ethics in Engineering


1
Ethics in Engineering
  • Jerry C. Collins
  • Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Vanderbilt University

2
Overview of Presentation
  • Fundamentals of Ethics
  • Ethics Education in Engineering
  • Codes of Ethics
  • National Society of Professional Engineers
  • IEEE
  • ASME
  • BMES
  • Examples of Ethical Dilemmas
  • Exercise in Ethical Decision Making

3
Ethical issues permeate our world
4
  • I always thought of myself as a man of science.
  • Then youre in a state of conflict.

5
Definitions of Ethics
  • The study of the general nature of morals and of
    the specific moral choices to be made by a
    person moral philosophy.
  • The rules or standards governing the conduct of a
    person or the members of a profession medical
    ethics.

6
Levels of Technology
  • Development and use of devices and techniques
  • Software
  • Products
  • Gene-transfer vector
  • Effects that come in the wake of new devices and
    techniques
  • Intensive care unit
  • Living will
  • Radioactive waste
  • Way of relating to the world
  • Enhancement technologies
  • Objects for human manipulation
  • Rejection of given
  • Humanity exerts power
  • Humanity as creator, or created cocreator

7
Attitudes toward Technology
Even using the yardstick of the ancient Greeks,
our whole modern existence is nothing but hubris
(exaggerated pride) and godlessness. Hubris
today characterizes our whole attitude towards
nature, our rape of nature with the help of
machines and the completely unscrupulous
inventiveness of technicians and
engineers. Friedrich Nietzsche, On the
Genealogy of Mortality, Cambridge Press,
New York, 1994, 86.
8
Teaching engineering ethics . . . can achieve at
least four desirable outcomes a) increased
ethical sensitivity b) increased knowledge of
relevant standards of conduct c) improved
ethical judgment and d) improved ethical
will-power (that is, a greater ability to act
ethically when one wants to). Davis, M.
Teaching ethics across the engineering
curriculum. Proceedings of International
Conference on Ethics in Engineering and
Computer Science. Available online at
http//onlineethics.org/essays/education/davis.
html.
9
Ethical responsibility...involves more than
leading a decent, honest, truthful life. . . .
And it involves something much more than making
wise choices when such choices suddenly,
unexpectedly present themselves. Our moral
obligations must . . . include a willingness to
engage others in the difficult work of defining
the crucial choices that confront technological
society . . . . Langdon Winner, 1990.
Engineering ethics and political
imagination. Pp. 53-64 in Broad and Narrow
Interpretations of Philosophy of Technology
Philosophy and Technology 7, edited by P. Durbin.
Boston Kluwer. Cited in Herkert, J.R.
Engineering ethics education in the USA
Content, pedagogy and curriculum. European
Journal of Engineering Education, 25, 303-13,
2000.
10
Engineering Ethical Education Issues to be
Considered
  • Ethical implications of public policy relevant to
    engineering
  • Sustainable development
  • Health care
  • Risk and product liability
  • Information technology
  • Culturally embedded engineering practice
    (institutional and political aspects of
    engineering, such as contracting, regulation, and
    technology transfer)
  • Macroethical issues (e.g., overconsumption)
  • Herkert, Eur. J. Eng. Ed. 25303, 2000.

11
Sustainable Development
The guiding principle of sustainable development
is development that meets the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of
future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainable development recognizes the
interdependence of environmental, social and
economic systems and promotes equality and
justice through people empowerment and a sense
of global citizenship. Whilst we cannot be sure
what the future may bring, a preferable future
is a more sustainable one. Encyclopedia of
Sustainable Development http//www.doc.mmu.ac.uk/
aric/esd/menu.html
12
State of Engineering Ethics EducationYear 2000
  • Awareness of need is increasing
  • Social issues
  • ABET accreditation standards
  • 70 of accredited programs have no ethics course
    requirement (Stephan, 1999)
  • Key concept "professional responsibility" (moral
    responsibility based on an individual's special
    knowledge) (Whitbeck, 1998).
  • Typical concerns conflicts of interest,
    integrity of data, whistle- blowing, loyalty,
    accountability, giving credit where due, trade
    secrets, gift giving and bribes (Wujek and
    Johnson, 1992).
  • Trend since 2000 is toward more formal
    engineering education in ethics.
  • Herkert, Eur. J. Eng. Ed. 25303, 2000.

13
Ethics in ABET Program Outcomes
  • Engineering programs must demonstrate that their
    graduates have
  • Ability to apply knowledge of mathematics,
    science, engineering
  • Ability to design and conduct expts, analyze and
    interpret data
  • Ability to design system, component, or process
  • Ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
  • Ability to identify, formulate, and solve
    engineering problems
  • An understanding of professional and ethical
    responsibility
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Broad education necessary to understand
    engineering impact in a global and societal
    context
  • Recognition of need for and ability to engage in
    life-long learning
  • Knowledge of contemporary issues
  • Ability to use techniques, skills and modern
    engineering tools necessary for engineering
    practice

14
Professional Codes of Ethics
  • National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
    (IEEE)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)

15
National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
Code of Ethics
. Fundamental Canons Engineers, in the
fulfillment of their professional duties, shall
1. Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare
of the public. 2. Perform services only in areas
of their competence. 3. Issue public statements
only in an objective and truthful manner. 4. Act
for each employer or client as faithful agents or
trustees. 5. Avoid deceptive acts. 6. Conduct
themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and
lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation,
and usefulness of the profession. (More
extensive Rules of Practice follow in the
Code) http//www.nspe.org/ethics/eh1-code.asp
16
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
  • 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  

17
IEEE Code of Ethics (cont.)
3. to be honest and realistic in stating claims
or estimates based on available data   4. to
reject bribery in all its forms   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  
18
IEEE Code of Ethics (concl.)
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. http//www.ieee.org/portal/index
.jsp?pageIDcorp_level1pathabout/whatisfilecod
e.xmlxslgeneric.xsl
19
ASME Code of Ethics
  • Code of Ethics of Engineers
  • from The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES
  • Engineers uphold and advance the integrity,
    honor, and dignity of the Engineering profession
    by
  • using their knowledge and skill for the
    enhancement of human welfare
  • being honest and impartial, and serving with
    fidelity the public, their employers and clients,
    and
  • striving to increase the competence and prestige
    of the engineering profession.

20
ASME Code of Ethics
  • Code of Ethics of Engineers From ASME
  • THE FUNDAMENTAL CANONS
  • Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health
    and welfare of the public in the performance of
    their professional duties.
  • Engineers shall perform services only in the
    areas of their competence.
  • Engineers shall continue their professional
    development throughout their careers and shall
    provide opportunities for the professional
    development of those engineers under their
    supervision.
  • Engineers shall act in professional matters for
    each employer or client as faithful agents or
    trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Engineers shall build their professional
    reputations on the merit of their services and
    shall not compete unfairly with others.
  • Engineers shall associate only with reputable
    persons or organizations.
  • Engineers shall issue public statements only in
    an objective and truthful manner.

21
BMES Code of Ethics
Biomedical engineering is a learned profession
that combines expertise and responsibilities in
engineering, science, technology, and medicine.
Mindful that public health and welfare are
paramount considerations in each of these areas,
the Society identifies in this Code principles of
ethical conduct in professional practice, health
care, research, and training. This Code reflects
voluntary standards of professional and personal
practice recommended for biomedical engineers.
  Biomedical Engineering Professional
Obligations  Biomedical engineers in the
fulfillment of their professional engineering
duties shall  1. Use their knowledge, skills,
and abilities to enhance the safety, health, and
welfare of the public.  2. Strive by action,
example, and influence to increase the
competence, prestige, and honor of the biomedical
engineering profession.   Biomedical Engineering
Health Care Obligations  Biomedical engineers
involved in health care activities shall  1.
Regard responsibility toward and rights of
patients, including those of confidentiality and
privacy, as a primary concern.  2. Consider the
broader consequences of their work in regard to
cost, availability, and delivery of health care.
22
BMES Code of Ethics (Cont.)
Biomedical Engineering Research
Obligations  Biomedical engineers involved in
research shall  1. Comply fully with legal,
ethical, institutional, governmental, and other
applicable research guidelines, respecting the
rights of and exercising the responsibilities to
human and animal subjects, colleagues, the
scientific community and the general public.
 2. Publish and/or present properly credited
results of research accurately and
clearly.   Biomedical Engineering Training
Obligations  Biomedical engineers entrusted with
the responsibilities of training others
shall  1. Honor the responsibility not only to
train biomedical engineering students in proper
professional conduct in performing research and
publishing results, but also to model such
conduct before them.  2. Keep training methods
and content free from inappropriate influence of
special interests.
23
Nanotechnology and Ethics
It is a staggeringly small world that is below.
In the year 2000, when they look back at this
age, they will wonder why it was not until the
year 1960 that anybody began seriously to move in
this direction. Richard Feynman, Theres
Plenty of Room at the Bottom An Invitation to
Enter a New Field of Physics, delivered to
American Physical Society Dec. 1959,
http//www.zyvex.com/nanotech/feynman.html There
are many people, including myself, who are quite
queasy about the consequences of this technology
for the future. We are talking about changing so
many things that the risk of society handling it
poorly through lack of preparation is very
large. K, Eric Dresler, Introduction to
Nanotechnology, in Prospects in Nanotechnology
Toward Molecular Manufacturing (Proceedings of
the First General Conference on Nanotechnology
Development, Applications and Opportunities),
ed. By Markus Krummenacker and James Lewis, New
York Wiley and Sons, 1995, p. 21, as cited in
Michael Crichton, Prey, HarperCollins,
Hammersmith, London, 2003, p. xiii.
24
Nanotechnology and Ethics
  • The science Feynman envisioned in 1959 is a
    reality
  • Vanderbilt, and VUSE in particular, are centers
    of nanotechnology research
  • There are great concerns about public awareness,
    education and discussion of the possible
    consequences of nanotechnology

25
Nanotechnology at VUSE
  • Vanderbilt Engineering to Lead New Defense
    Nanotechnology Program
  • NASHVILLE, Tenn. The Vanderbilt School of
    Engineering will lead a new multi-million-dollar
    multi-institutional nanotechnology program funded
    by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to develop
    radically improved electronics, sensors, windows,
    uniforms, and other critical defense systems.
  • The Advanced Carbon Nanotechnology Research
    Program will explore carbons The goal of this
    cutting-edge research is to gain control of
    structures and devices at atomic and molecular
    levels and to learn to efficiently manufacture
    and use these devices, says Jimmy L. Davidson,
    principal investigator of the new program.
  • Davidson, Professor of Electrical Engineering and
    Materials Science Engineering, will coordinate
    the research efforts of the five institutions
    also involved in the program, including North
    Carolina State University, University of
    Kentucky, University of Florida, International
    Technology Center at Research Triangle Park in
    North Carolina.

26
Nanotechnology at VUSE (cont.)
  • Davidson points out that, although carbon is the
    most versatile of elements and is the foundation
    of most fuel, synthetic materials and biological
    systems, little is known about the elements
    behavior at the nanoscale levelResearch
    discoveries at the nanoscale have led to unique
    properties of carbon nanotubes, quantum wires and
    dots, thin films, DNA-based structures, and laser
    emitters, Davidson says. Yet using carbon as a
    building block in this promising new area of
    science is a potentially boundless resource not
    sufficiently explored in todays research
    endeavors.
  • In addition to conducting research into
    carbon-based nanotechnology, the new program will
    train graduate students to work in the emerging
    field and will establish close interactions among
    U.S. industry and government laboratories.
  • The Army Research Laboratory is providing 2.4
    million for the programs first year of
    operation. Initial goals will involve developing
    diamond/carbon nanostructures for biological and
    chemical sensors, developing a new
    energy-conversion devices, and developing
    electron emission devices for advanced
    electronics.

27
Nanotechnology at VUSE (concl.)
  • Biological and chemical sensors Research will
    focus on developing carbon-derived nanotubes,
    electrodes and microtips for detection of toxic
    chemical agents.
  • Energy-conversion device Thermal-electric energy
    conversion devices based on diamond/carbon vacuum
    field emitter nanostructures can provide power
    and cooling systems that are more efficient,
    clean, and environmentally friendly.
  • Electron emission devices New cold-cathode
    electron emitters and gated field emission
    devices can be developed for high performance,
    efficiency and reliability in advanced
    electronics. Infrared-emission displays can be
    used in infrared imaging and sensing equipment.
    These materials may also be useful for medical,
    biological and chemical applications.

28
Nanotechnology at VUSE (concl.)
  • Biological and chemical sensors Research will
    focus on developing carbon-derived nanotubes,
    electrodes and microtips for detection of toxic
    chemical agents.
  • Energy-conversion device Thermal-electric energy
    conversion devices based on diamond/carbon vacuum
    field emitter nanostructures can provide power
    and cooling systems that are more efficient,
    clean, and environmentally friendly.
  • Electron emission devices New cold-cathode
    electron emitters and gated field emission
    devices can be developed for high performance,
    efficiency and reliability in advanced
    electronics. Infrared-emission displays can be
    used in infrared imaging and sensing equipment.
    These materials may also be useful for medical,
    biological and chemical applications.

29
Nanotechnology Ethical Guidelines
  • Nanotechnology's highest and best use should be
    to create a world of abundance where no one is
    lacking for their basic needs. Those needs
    include adequate food, safe water, a clean
    environment, housing, medical care, education,
    public safety, fair labor, unrestricted travel,
    artistic expression and freedom from fear and
    oppression.
  • High priority must be given to the efficient
    and economical global distribution of the
    products and services created by nanotechnology.
  • Military research and applications of
    nanotechnology must be limited to defense and
    security systems, and not for political purposes
    or aggression.
  • Scientists developing and experimenting with
    nanotechnology must have a solid grounding in
    ecology and public safety, or have someone on
    their team who does.

30
Nanotechnology Ethical Guidelines
  • Nanotechnology's highest and best use should be
    to create a world of abundance where no one is
    lacking for their basic needs. Those needs
    include adequate food, safe water, a clean
    environment, housing, medical care, education,
    public safety, fair labor, unrestricted travel,
    artistic expression and freedom from fear and
    oppression.
  • High priority must be given to the efficient
    and economical global distribution of the
    products and services created by nanotechnology.
  • Military research and applications of
    nanotechnology must be limited to defense and
    security systems, and not for political purposes
    or aggression.
  • Scientists developing and experimenting with
    nanotechnology must have a solid grounding in
    ecology and public safety, or have someone on
    their team who does.

31
Nanotechnology Ethical Guidelines
  • All published research and discussion of
    nanotechnology should be accurate as possible,
    adhere to the scientific method, and give due
    credit to sources.
  • Published debates over nanotechnology,
    including chat room discussions, should focus on
    advancing the merits of the arguments rather than
    personal attacks.
  • Business models in the field should incorporate
    long-term, sustainable practices.
  • Industry leaders should be collaborative and
    self-regulating, but also support public
    education in the sciences and reasonable
    legislation to deal with legal and social issues
    associated with nanotechnology.
  • Nanotechnology Now, http//nanotech-now.com/ethi
    cs-of-nanotechnology.htm,
  • see also The Foresight Institute,
    http//www.foresight.org and http//www.thecbc.or
    g/redesigned/pdfs/techno_04.pdf

32
Engineering academia and industry depend on each
other
PEOPLE
IDEAS
33
University-Industry Relations
  • Universities depend increasingly on industrial
    contributions
  • Gifts
  • Sponsored research
  • Clinical Trials Centersethical conflicts
  • Universities are also trying to capitalize on
    ideas, inventions, intellectual property
    developed in their research enterprises
  • Industry needs to protect research
  • Universities need to publish research
  • Compromise Publish only after an interval
  • Vanderbilts Office of Technology Transfer and
    Enterprise Development
  • Dr. Chris McKinney, Director
  • VU will not pursue ownership on sr. design work
  • Reference Derek Bok, Universities in the
    Marketplace The Commercialization of Higher
    Education, Princeton University Press, 2003

34
Other Engineering Ethics Considerations
  • Falsification of research results
  • John Darsee
  • Mentoring
  • Use vs. abuse of student assistants
  • Whistleblowing
  • The Challenger
  • The Insider

35
THE DILEMMA OF BIOENGINEERING RESEARCH ON HUMAN
SUBJECTS
Times are difficult for researchers using human
subjects.
The Scientist 141, 2000.
36
THE DILEMMA OF BIOENGINEERING RESEARCH ON HUMAN
SUBJECTS
Make the rules protecting patients too lax, and
subjects will suffer and even die needlessly.
Make them too strict, and lifesaving medications
wont make it out of the lab quickly enough to
help the people who need them most.
Time, April 22, 2002.
37
TIMELINE 1932 - present
2000 OHRP
1999 death of Jesse Gelsinger
1991 The Common Rule (OHSR)
1979 Belmont Report
1974 National Research Act (OPRR)
1970 Tuskegee Study exposed
1964 Declaration of Helsinki
1947 Nurem-berg Code
1950s Thalidomide tragedy
1940 Nazi medical experiments
38
THE NAZI DOCTORS
At a second trial of medical underlings, Dr.
Edward Katzenellenbogen, a former member of the
faculty of the Harvard Medical School, asked the
court for the death sentence. Any physician who
committed the crimes I am charged with deserves
to be killed, he exclaimed. He was given life
imprisonment.
Shirer WL. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,
1960.
39
Nuremberg Code (1947)
  • ethical yardstick against which defendants were
    judged
  • informed consent
  • risk benefit (equipoise)
  • subject can terminate her/his involvement
  • experiment should be based upon prior animal
    studies
  • only scientifically qualified individuals should
    conduct human experimentation
  • physical and mental suffering and injury should
    be avoided
  • there should be no expectation that death or
    disabling injury will occur from the experiment

40
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42
USPHS Study of Syphilis
  • 1932 Started as a short study (6-8 months) with
    200-300 syphilitic black males in Macon County
  • Free medical examinations
  • Not told of their disease, not treated
  • Study continued with yearly physicals

43
Conditions for Clinical Trial Participation
  • Under what conditions would you participate in a
    clinical trial of a drug or device or procedure?
  • Under what conditions would you allow a friend or
    a member of your family to participate in a
    clinical trial?

44
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