Ethics and Engineering

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Ethics and Engineering

"A professional - engineer, doctor, lawyer, or teacher - should have a well- rounded education, which teaches the technical expertise of the field, but also instructs the whole human being about the pleasures and responsibilities of being a contributing member of society."

The most important part of any career is training. If you want to become anything from a cook to an astronaut, it is important that you know how to do your job. Education is key to be able to do a job. But, for certain professionals, such as engineers, doctors, doing the job right may include a lot more than what they were taught, or could be taught, in any school. These professions must also learn how to be responsible to the public. People in such jobs must be instructed on the responsibilities of being a contributing member of society.

Most professionals feel their duty is to serve their client, or to do their job to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, this is not good enough. When a person's profession or the product of their work will involve the public, that person should also be responsible to the public. The only concern of an engineer cannot be to make a bridge as sound as possible in a certain budget. If the people are to be crossing over this bridge, an engineer must also consider if it is possible to truly make this bridge safe within the allotted budget. He must not think purely of the technical aspects of the bridge making, but of the human side. Statements like "Is it safe?" should be replaced by "Is the bridge safe enough?" Whenever one's work involves the public, one must be concerned for the public's health and safety.

Professionals today must make judgement calls that were never required of them before. They must decide whether what is good for science and technology is good for humanity. There must be a certain responsibility to an expert for what they have created. As an example, look at Albert Einstein's research...
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