Engineering Decisions and Ethics

As technology develops we are continuously made aware of ethical dilemmas at the intersection of technology. Examples of topics the center studies include autonomous vehicles, techology in the workplace and autonomous machines and weapons. The Neely Center for Ethical Leadership and Decision Making has a number of researchers who specialize in these issues and trains future engineering leaders to make ethically sensitive decisions.

Relevant publications by Neely Center affiliates in this area include:

 Patrick Lin, Keith Abney, George A. Bekey 

Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics (Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Agents series) Robots today serve in many roles, from entertainer to educator to executioner. As robotics technology advances, ethical concerns become more pressing: Should robots be programmed to follow a code of ethics, if this is even possible? Are there risks in forming emotional bonds with robots? How might society -- and ethics -- change with robotics? This volume is the first book to bring together prominent scholars and experts from both science and the humanities to explore these and other questions in this emerging field.

Elizabeth Fife - Engaging in Engineering Ethics: approaches to teaching moral reasoning to science and engineering students 

Abstract: The extent to which ethics can be taught in order to have an impact on student’s critical thinking capacities is an ongoing discussion among ethicists and spans disciplines from the social sciences, humanities, to fields that develop technical skill such as medicine and engineering. The possible benefits of engaging students in the area of ethical philosophy are thought to range from fostering moral improvement, to increasing analytic precision, argumentation and other reasoning skills, to raising awareness of alternative perspectives through questioning existing beliefs. Related to value is the fundamental question of how ethics can be taught to elicit any of these desired outcomes. In addressing the how and why, we report results of interviews from scholars of philosophy and other practitioners of ethics pedagogy as a backdrop for identifying several approaches and content that are applicable for engineering students. Perspectives on teaching ethics in conjunction with a communications course is the context for discussion of ways in which engineering programs at the university level can incorporate ethics into curricula. Finally, results of a small-scale student survey to evaluate student engagement and perception of usefulness in an engineering communications course that features ethics are reported. Read More.