ENGINEERING ETHICS – CASE STUDIES
1. 2. 3. 4. What is Engineering Ethics? Why study Engineering Ethics? The scope of Engineering Ethics Case studies in Engineering Ethics a. Killer Robot b. DC - 10 c. Whistle Blowing d. Citicorp Building e. The Challenger case 1. Sample Codes a. Hammurabi’s code b. ABET code 1. Further case studies a. Bhopal b. Three Mile Island c. Chernobyl 7. Concluding remarks
WHAT IS ENGINEERING ETHICS
Engineering Ethics is the study of moral issues and decisions confronting individuals and organizations engaged in engineering.
The Study of related questions about moral ideals,character,policies and relationship of people and corporations involved in ...view middle of the document...
The Robot arm struck Matthews, throwing him against a wall and crushing his skull. Matthews died almost instantly. According to the indictment, Samuels wrote the particular piece of computer program responsible for the robot malfunction. “There’s a smoking gun!” McMurdock announced triumphantly at a press conference held in the hall of Justice." We have the hand written formula ,provided by the project physicist, which Samuels was supposed to program. But he negligently misinterpreted the formula leading to this huge gruesome death. Society must protect itself against programmers who make careless mistakes. The Sentinel – observer has obtained a copy of the handwritten formula in question. There are actually three similar formulas ,scrawled on piece of yellow legal pad paper.
Each formula describes the motion of the robot in one direction: east-west, North-south and up –down. The Sentinel-Observer showed the formulas to Bill Park a professor of physics at Silicon Valley University. He confirmed that these equations could be used to describe the motion of a robot arm. The Sentinel – Observer then showed Park the program code written by the accused in the programming language. We asked Park who is fluent in C and several other languages, whether the program code was correct for the given robot – arm formulas.
Parks response was immediate. He exclaimed, “By Jove! It looks like he misinterpreted the formula. He's guilty as hell, if you ask me”. The Sentinel – Observer was unable to contact Samuels for comment. “He is deeply depressed about all this,” his girl friend told us over the phone," but Randy believes he will be acquitted when he gets a chance to tell his side of the story. Issues:
CASE 2: DC – 10 JUMBO JET
The fuselage of the DC – 10 Jumbo jet of which the cargo door is a part was developed by Convair, a sub contractor for McDonnell Douglas. Convair’s senior engineer directing the project, Dan Applegate had written to the Vice president of the company: “The Cargo door could burst open, leading to crash of the plane. Hence the door has to be redesigned and the cabin floor has to strengthened”.
Top Management at Convair neither disputed the technical facts or the predictions made by Applegate. The liabilities and the cost of redesign were to high. Two years went by. In 1974 the cargo door of DC – 10 Jumbo burst open and the jet crashed near Paris killing 346 . Issues:
CASE 3: WHISTLE BLOWING
Definition: Whistle blowing is alerting relevant persons to some moral or legal corruption, where “Relevant persons” are those in a position to act in response.
No topic in Engineering ethics is more controversial than
whistle – blowing.
Carl Houston was a welding supervisor for a nuclear
power facility in Virginia (1970) for Stone & Weber
Improper welding procedures Use of wrong materials Welders were not trained properly The Situation was dangerous
He reported to Stone & Weber’s...