A: For me, ethics is about asking questions; question like: ‘what does a just society look like?’ or ‘what is the right thing to do, in this particular situation?’. For me, ethics is surely not about lecturing other people or telling people what to do or not. So, why would you care about ethics?
You work as an engineer, right? Or do you work as a researcher or developer or designer in innovation projects? Anyway, you aim to create things. You are trying to have an impact in the world. So, the way that I see it … you are already ‘doing ethics’. You look into the world, and feel something that is not quite right. You have ideas about what is right or wrong. You want to change things for the better. You want to play a part in that. You perceive the world, you evaluate, you build, you tinker, you try-out.
You don’t need a degree in philosophy to ‘do ethics’. As soon as you move around in the world—let alone tinker with it, build stuff, get it out there, in order to change things—you ‘do ethics’. The thing is… you are probably doing this rather unconsciously, implicitly, and maybe not always very systematically.
Are you in for some exploration? Do you want to upgrade your ethical skills? Do you want to improve your moral capabilities?
It is, increasingly expected of us—as researchers, developers, engineers, designers: that we take into account the diverse societal and ethical issues that are associated with the projects we work on. Noblesse oblige: we are required to engage with society and to behave ethically.
So, when you work on artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, the Internet of Things, social networking services, or mobile apps—on anything that may have a huge impact on society: I do invite you to come back next week for a new blog.
Or better: to start asking questions.