Emerging Technologies and Ethical Issues in Engineering

On October 14 and 15, 2003, the NAE held a 1-day public workshop, "Emerging Technologies and Ethical Issues", with three objectives: 1) to describe directions of development of these emerging technologies; 2) to review the state of the art in engineering ethics in search of strategies and tools for addressing these emerging technologies; and 3) to address questions as to what engineers and engineering professional organizations, such as the NAE, can and should do to ensure that these technologies are developed in socially responsible ways.

The papers from the workshop are now available from the National Academies Press in the volume titled Emerging Technologies and Ethical Issues in Engineering.




  Keynote Address
Wm. A. Wulf, President, National Academy of Engineering
Emerging Technologies
Moderator: Deborah G. Johnson, Anne Shirley Carter Olsson Professor of Applied Ethics, University of Virginia
  The Ethical Dimensions of Earth Systems Engineering and Management
Brad Allenby, Environment, Health and Safety Vice President, AT&T
  Nano-Ethics: Framing the Issues
George Khushf, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Center for Bioethics & Medical Humanities, University of South Carolina
  Neurotechnology and Brain-Computer Interfaces: Ethical and Social Implications
Paul Root Wolpe, Senior Fellow, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania
  E3: Energy, Engineers, and Ethics
John F. Ahearne, Director, Ethics Program, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
State of the Art in Engineering Ethics
Moderator: Stephanie J. Bird, Editor, Science and Engineering Ethics
  Ethical Methodology for Case Studies in Engineering Ethics
Charles E. (Ed) Harris, Associate Professor, Philosophy Department, Texas A&M University
  Creativity and Responsibility in Engineering
Caroline Whitbeck, Elmer G. Beamer-Hubert H. Schneider University Professor in Ethics, Professor in Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University
  Microethics, Macroethics, and Professional Engineering Societies
Joseph Herkert, Associate Professor of Multidisciplinary Studies, North Carolina State University
Ethics Challenges
  Break-out Sessions on Ethics and Emerging Small- and Large-Scale Technologies
  Film: Incident at Morales
Developed and produced by the National Institute for Engineering Ethics

  Reports from Break-out Groups
Ethics in Engineering Education
Moderator: John F. Ahearne, Director, Ethics Program, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
  Ethics across the Curriculum
Vivian Weil, Director, Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, and Professor of Ethics, Illinois Institute of Technology
  Integrating Ethics Education at All Levels
Stephanie J. Bird, Editor, Science and Engineering Ethics
  Facilitated Discussion: Where Do We Go from Here?
John F. Ahearne, Stephanie J. Bird, Deborah G. Johnson, and Wm. A. Wulf


Organizing Committee

  • Deborah G. Johnson, chair
  • John F. Ahearne
  • Stephanie J. Bird
  • Wm. A. Wulf


The National Academy of Engineering workshop "Emerging Technologies and Ethical Issues" was funded by Mr. Charles J. Pankow, chairman of Charles Pankow Builders. We thank him for his generous support.

Special Thanks

The National Academy of Engineering would like to offer special thanks to the National Institute for Engineering Ethics (NIEE) for the use of the Incident at Morales film and support materials. The NIEE is dedicated to "education, communication, program and project development, and practice applications in the area of engineering ethics." <www.niee.org>


October 14, 2003 09:00 AM – October 15, 2003 02:00 PM
National Academies Building
Washington, DC