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Engineering and Ethics
Note: Please follow the template “Evaluation of Case Study” wherever required.
A contemporary issue facing technology innovation today is the tension between personal privacy and public security. Discuss in-depth how this issue effects and drives the development of devices or software. Provide at least one example. (Write at least 2 – 3 paragraphs)
Consider the following case study and answer the questions below.
An electric car is an automobile that uses electrical energy stored in batteries or another energy storage device that is propelled by one or more electric motors. Electric cars can significantly reduce air pollution, as they do not emit tailpipe pollutants and reduce in greenhouse gas and other emissions and reduce dependence on foreign oil. But widespread adoption of electric cars causes higher cost, lack of recharging infrastructure outside of home charging and range anxiety which is the driver’s fear that the electric energy stored in the batteries will run out before the driver reaches their destination, due to the limited range of the existing electric cars. The United States government also views energy efficient vehicles as environmentally friendly alternatives to vehicles that run purely on gasoline and provided tax credits to increase the popularity.
Identify and analyze the possible impacts (political, environmental, health, safety, cultural, economic) of the electric car technology on society (including individual, local, regional, or global context)? (Write 1 paragraph)
Engineers and technologists have a responsibility to add to the public discourse on technology issues (section 4.8 of your text). Choose the perspective of either an engineer working for a firm developing an electric car or an engineer working for an oil company. Address one of the ethical issues which arise from this impact using ideas presented throughout the text (environmentalism, cost-benefit analysis, social values, etc.). (Write 1 paragraph)
Consider a situation where “David” works for a US based firm in another Country “XYZ”. The government in Country XYZ assesses taxes at an exorbitant rate as the firms are expected to report only 70% of their actual earnings. If a firm reported its actual earnings, the taxes would force it out of business. David’s firm is considering whether it should adopt the local practice of dishonestly reporting its profits to Country XYZ, even though it would be illegal to do this in the United States. Whatever the decision, the firm will continue to report its profits honestly to the US government.
Describe ethical issues raised in this case? Be sure to address cross-cultural nature of the issues. (Write 1 paragraph)
Using the ethical approaches found in the text for cross-cultural ethics, do you think there are any creative middle way solutions? If so, discuss one of them. Identify the positive and negative consequences that would result from this solution. (Write 1 paragraph)