Responsibility in Engineering: Toward a New Role for Engineering Ethicists

Abstract

Traditionally, the management of technology has focused on the stages before or after development of technology. In this approach the technology itself is conceived as the result of a deterministic enterprise; a result that is to be either rejected or embraced. However, recent insights from Science and Technology Studies have shown that there is ample room to modulate technology during development. This requires technology managers and engineering ethicists to become more involved in the technological research rather than assessing it from an outsider perspective. Instead of focusing on the question whether or not to authorize, approve, or adopt a certain technology or on the question of who is to blame for potential mistakes, the guiding question in this new approach is how research is to be carried out.

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