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RELEVANCE OF ENGINEERING ETHICS IN TODAY¶S ERA

Introduction: Natural sciences and engineering are important forces shaping our future. Not only today but from the ancient times engineering ethics had a great influence in our society. They exert both positive and negative influences upon our world. The engineering professions, however, have a particular responsibility in structuring these processes. Engineers recognize natural sciences and engineering as important powers for shaping society and human life today and tomorrow. Therefore engineers are aware of their specific responsibility. They orient their professional actions towards fundamentals and criteria of ethics and implement them into practice. In the engineering world of the future, a sound understanding of the theoretical and practical sides of engineering ethics will be necessary to the proper education of engineers. While there may have been reasons to neglect engineering ethics or treat it superficially in the past, those reasons are no longer valid. To support this assertion three of the arguments are mentioned below: i) Engineering ethics is now a mature, practical academic discipline whose practitioners deal primarily with real engineering cases, not just abstract philosophical theories. ii) Engineering work is now more complex than ever, and its ethical, social, and cultural effects can no longer be dealt with simple engineered systems. iii) While most engineering students come to college with a working understanding of general ethical principles already, they need classroom practice to understand and deal with the complex and subtle issues of professional responsibility in engineering before they encounter ethical problems in the real engineering world. Engineering Ethics as a Prerequisite for Technological Development of Societies Throughout history, engineers have been able to create a variety of technologies and solve diverse problems related to health and hygiene, treatment and cure of diseases, education, agriculture, housing, transportation, and other topics. This has been accomplished by engineers who avail themselves of the discoveries and scientific achievements of others and who use their own innovations and creativity.

Diffused with a sense of human values and engineering ethics. The tragic incident of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an example of this deadly invention. Gradually. For example. It costs millions of human lives. But also along with these activities. It comes into play when an engineer has an important job to perform. thus safeguarding the interests of societies and ensuring the health of the environment. ultimately creating a greater amount of personal happiness. they can control their own activities. by using their creativity and innovation. and eventually graduate students can choose to specialize in the new field. a number of interested researchers coalesce around the new field and write a few books and articles. Such activities of engineers have gone together with the pollution and destruction of the environment and the wasting of natural resources. engineers have also been able to create countless deadly weapons to support militarists who may be able to annihilate or injure a large number of people in a short time. Engineering Ethics as an Independent Academic Discipline Because there are no specialists initially who are trained in a new field. But there is also an aspect which is that. For example. If enough interest arises. one can ensure peace of mind and inner satisfaction. In today¶s era engineering ethics has a great influence in the technological world.The outcome has been the provision of greater comfort and amenities for societies. It is upon the engineer¶s choice to select the right path for development of the society or to select the path which may bring misery and injuries to the humanity. The subject was a rather abstruse specialty taught at only a few graduate schools in the world. the invention of Atom Bomb was a curse to the humanity. it is upon the people to use it for helping or destroying the society. the final goal of all human endeavors. solve problems and be the harbingers of many facilities and amenities for themselves and others. conferences and journals establish the new field on a firm footing. which may lead to welfare or as well as to destruction of human society. and go on to teach courses and write textbooks in the area. before 1950 there were few if any textbooks or courses on electronic computers. those from cognate fields do the early work. As the field . Having a strong sense of engineering ethics and morality. Engineers can.

the subject has become so fundamental that most of the school of engineering that neglects computers in its undergraduate curriculum will not receive accreditation. Clearly defined roles for the parties involved: engineer. Clearly defined and slowly changing organizational structures within which engineers operated. Before about 1975. While some early engineering-intensive enterprises were quite large (e. Engineering ethics in such situations often boiled down to a question of whether the engineer had done the job according to specifications. No great deal of sophisticated academic study was needed to establish right or wrong in the vast majority of engineering cases involving wrongdoing or injury. and 3. The key features of this early stage of engineering for my purposes were: 1. Clearly defined. Engineering schools should take advantage of the growing body of practical knowledge in the field by passing it on to their students in a systematic and consistent way. teachers. railroads and telegraph systems). their hierarchical organizational structure was relatively straightforward and changed slowly.gained in commercial and scientific importance. customer. For the reasons it can be summarized that this excuse no longer holds water. functions of the physical artifacts produced. and students involved began to increase. Engineering ethics is now a respected academic discipline in its own right. the number of researchers. especially in electro technology. In a five- . Programs in computer science and computer engineering were founded beginning in the 1950s and grew in number and size through the 1960s. g. Contrast these early conditions with the state of much engineering today. client. The Complexity of Modern Engineering The nineteenth-century engineer was often also an entrepreneur and sole proprietor of his business. and related fields. software. computers. 2. and generally stable. and the existing legal and professional institutions generally handled what we would call matters of engineering ethics today without considering it as a separate subject. the lack of good textbooks and a body of scholarly knowledge in the field of engineering ethics was perhaps a good excuse either to neglect the subject in undergraduate engineering curricula or to treat it superficially. Today.

was a multi-purpose project primarily for flood control and irrigation with a 122m high dam near the present dam site. Since the earlier investigations were not sufficient. The engineer's role may change from technical adviser to manager to publicist from one project to the next. The proposed height of the dam was subsequently reduced to 116km on the point that some towns of Arunachal Pradesh would be flooded if the height was maintained. the products of engineering affect more people in a larger variety of ways than ever before. Today's engineers face a much greater challenge in determining the effects of their engineering decisions in a vastly more complex and rapidly changing environment than earlier engineers worked in. They found the following impact on the terrestrial fauna. One reason for this is that highly engineered products travel rapidly throughout the global economy and may be used in cultures that are radically different from the ones in which the product was designed. Finally. NHPC did additional investigation on the basis of which the present 116m high concrete dam was initiated. the 21st-century environment is plastic or even fluid. the responsibility of engineers as ultimate technical arbiters has not changed. and many of these effects are increasingly difficult for the responsible engineer to anticipate. As the recent technological era demonstrated. including engineering ones. Nevertheless. CASE STUDY: The Lower Subansri Project. one engineer may work on two to three radically different generations of technology. An expert group was created to study the impact of the dam in the downstream. Originally a 257m high rock fill dam was proposed at the present site and detailed investigation was carried out for the purpose. and organizational structures of many kinds. each completely superseding the previous one. taking with them companies. entire technically-based economies can grow rapidly and vanish almost overnight. If the nineteenth-century engineering environment could be characterized as relatively stable. Later on the Brahmaputra Board handed over the project to NHPC in May 2000 without any decision regarding the suitability of the dam site after initial investigations. business plans. as envisaged by Brahmaputra Flood Control Commission as back as 1955. .year period.

.i) Due to the construction of the dam the river water will be regulated and natural flow of water will be changed. privacy. vi) The amphibian community which have important role in maintaining the terrestrial ecosystem of the area will be affected due to sudden change of water level after the construction and commissioning of the project. feeding sites and breeding grounds as a result of change of vegetarian pattern due to change of normal water regime of the river. iii) The vegetation loss will initiate the loss of faunal habitats and ultimately impact will be on the Asiatic Elephant and other 3 species of endangered animal which are Schedule-1 according to the IUCN report. iv) The drying up of the river will initiates human activities on the river bed causing human-elephant conflict as the human activities will also be on the migratory route of the Asiatic elephant and on the resting sites which were used during the migration from Arunachal forests to Dulung RF and back. v) The existing birds community comprising of terrestrial as well as aquatic will face the problems of loss of habitat. But engineers should also keep it in mind the negative effects of the dam which are mentioned above. So using today¶s technology it is evident that the construction of the dam will bring various improvement in human life such as increase of electricity. So proper steps should be taken into action in order to make efficient use of the dam keeping it in mind the above factors. environmental impact. security. ii) The regular flow of water will diminished to a very minimum level which will cause the lowering of the ground water level resulting to loss of vegetation due to scarcity of soil water. and this could suggest that the margin for unethical assumptions and/or actions is unintended. Nanotechnology is a very young engineering technology. quality. These artificially intelligent robots will replace the common working man. Conclusion: Ethics is obviously based upon right or wrong. good or bad. The growing importance of computers in modern society makes Computer Ethics essential both when it comes to the issues related to the profession such as safety. improvement of irrigation etc. Nanotechnology is and will be the modern production line worker. which will cause irreparable damage to the terrestrial ecosystem. but in every aspect of work eventually. not only in production.

Our conclusion is that it is both necessary and possible to make Computer Ethics an integral part of computing curricula. . which is the natural way to ensure its integration in the culture of the profession.and similar and also in the everyday use of computers which gives rise to numerous ethical dilemmas.