Utility which forms the basis of Utilitarianism describes a morally right act if pleasure is produced and an act is morally wrong if pain is produced. This has the conclusion is that it’s better to be a human dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be a Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. In the case of the Aberdeen three where the Aberdeen Army Base tested chemical weapons that weren’t properly treated and stored. Utilitarianism describes to us a scenario depicting responsibility should rest on that person on duty and that right ethics leads us to proper adherence to the processes and procedures by the company represented.
The Aberdeen three had a responsibility to the society and to their subordinates that they ignored. The employees’ working conditions were terrible with chemical pipes dripping off chemicals above those who worked while this being a violation of the RCRA regulations. The employees with limited training on hazardous material were delegated duties to dispose of chemicals those which they apparently had little knowledge. The three engineers had a responsibility to the workers who handled hazardous chemicals of the content being dealt with and the proper methods of disposing of the chemicals.
The Aberdeen three, were engineers who were well aware of how dangerous the chemicals were to the society in which they operated. The three engineers continued their surge to benefit the military’s mission and let the society suffer the consequences even with the knowledge of the dangers posed. The decisions made by these three engineers were purely management decisions. The decisions made by engineers matter since they assumed the profession is making an oath to the society in which they operate. The Aberdeen three withheld their knowledge of the RCRA that was a lie but it doesn’t matter since it is their sole duty to adhere and be aware of the set regulations as they have a responsibility to the public as engineers.
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The Paradyne dealing with the Social Security Administration was on the bidding of computers by the SSA to replace its old computer systems. This bidding process led to irregularities such as;
- The company Paradyne lied about the proposed computer P8400 with the PIOS operating systems
- The company was incorporating new technology that was yet to be built and yet under development
- The computer demonstrated during the pre-award demonstration was not the P8400 but a modified PDP 11/23 that was manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation
- The company managers assumed the proposed P 8400 model with a 16-bit processor will be equal in performance as compared to the PDP 11/23
- The PIOS operating system wasn’t operational at the time of bidding meaning the software will run without being tested on a prototype
- Paradyne employed an ex-employee of SSA who later colluded with his former boss to ease the standard set so as to allow the computers to pass the initial acceptance phase
- Paradyne afterwards ensured a fully restored system as required with the computers intended to work about 98% of the time
The launch of the challenger in January 1986 encountered numerous design challenges that led to the complication of successfully launching the shuttle.
- There were problems with the field joint design that was long re-organized before launch
- New technology of steel billets to be used in place of O-rings since it could withstand hot gases isn’t finished in time for use
- Engineer Thiokol presented a description of how the O-ring is affected by temperature since test temperatures were 53o F yet the launch temperatures will be at 29o F
- A defective micro-switch in the hatch locking mechanism delays launch
- Rodger Boisjoly orders the launch of the Challenger shuttle
At some instance in machine operation area, there was collusion in keeping secret the mishandling of machinery and instead of reporting to the management I sat to myself. The machines for operation were left to run at full capacity during off-peak or minimal production hours which could result in an explosion of the machines due to intense activity. As an engineer it is one’s duty to take responsibility and report any malpractice as being a whistle blower saves lives.
The design for the gas tank placement of the Ford Pinto was undesirable and unacceptable to engineering standards since its positioning posed risks to the users of the vehicle. The Pinto design failed to meet specific requirements in engineering though it was considered not in violation of any federal standards of automobiles. This non-violation fact is important since it depicts the loop holes in the quality of output of automobiles. The responsibilities of the engineers after the decision was balanced the safety of passengers and to produce a commercially viable vehicle that is competitive.
Fleddermann, Charles B. Engineering Ethics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2004. Print.
McGrann, Roy T. R. Wtsn 111: Exploring Engineering I. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Custom Publication, 2006. Print.
"Codes of Ethics and Ethical Standards." (2011): 157-194. Print.
Martin, Mike W, and Roland Schinzinger. Ethics in Engineering. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2005. Print.
Emerging Technologies and Ethical Issues in Engineering: Papers from a Workshop, October 14-15, 2003. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press, 2004. Internet resource.
Speight, James G, and Russell Foote. Ethics in Science and Engineering. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley, 2011. Print.