Technical Report The Technology-Society Relationship and the Duty of

TechnicalReport:The Technology-Society Relationshipandthe Duty of the Professional Engineer toSafetyDeliverTechnology to theSociety

Abstract

Theimpactof moderntechnologyon thesocietyinincontestable, buttheimpactscan be positiveornegative.Technological advancesachievedin thedisciplineof electrical engineeringincludethedevelopmentof pre-amplifiers, systems,andadvancedcircuitsforsmartdevices.Mechanicalengineershavemanagedto developweaponsystem,compressors, kineticchains,vibrationisolation,engines,andvacuumtechnology among othertechnologies. Civilengineershaveenhancedefficiencyin theconstructionof privateandpublicinfrastructure,airports,railways,bridges,buildings,anddamsamong otherprojects.Technological advanceshavebothpositiveimpactson theenvironment(includingthereductionof greenhousegasesemittedinto theatmosphere)andnegativeimpacts,includingthedumping of worn-outelectronicgadgetsinlandfields.In addition,technological advancesare associatedwith significantethicalissues,includingtheviolationof rightsto copyright andprivacy.Engineersshould ensurethattechnological advancesmeetthesafetystandardsin orderto ensurethattheydonot harmthemembersof thesocietywhoare theendconsumers.

Keywords:Technological advances,engineeringdisciplines,ethicalissues,safetystandards,environmental impacts.

TechnicalReport:The Technology-Society Relationshipandthe Duty of the Professional Engineer toSafetyDeliverTechnology to theSociety

Theeffectof technology on thecontemporarysocietyis indisputable,butnot allimpactsare positive.Theimpacts(bothnegativeandpositive)of technology on societycan be understoodbetterby analyzingtechnological advancesin eachof theengineeringdisciplines.Thisis becauseprofessionalengineersandresearchers in eachdisciplinehavemadevaryinglevels of technological advances.Forexample,thesignificantmilestonesachievedin electrical engineeringhavenearlymadethisdisciplinea synonymof technology (Moonbeam, 2014). Thenegativeaspectsof technology areassociatedwith theenvironmental pollution,ethical,andsafetyissuesof technological advances.Althoughthenegativeimpactsof technology on societydonot surpassthepositiveeffects,theysuggestthatengineersshould facethechallengesandenhancethesafetyandethicalcompliancein alltechnological advances.Thistechnicalreportwill addresstherelationshipbetween technology andsocietywith a focuson advancesthat havebeenmadein variousengineeringdisciplines,environmental impact,ethicalissues,andsafetyaspectsof technological advances.

Natureof technological advancesin engineeringdisciplines

Discipline:Electrical engineering

Electricalengineeringis a disciplinethat makesthebestuseof activeas wellas non-linear componentsto designdevices,systems,andcircuits.Electrical engineeringis one of thefieldsin which researchers havemadea significantbreakthroughin developingdevicesandsystemsusedin otherprofessions.Forexample,thedevelopmentof pre-amplifiers andadvancedcircuits(shownin Figure 1) has facilitatedthedevelopmentof smartgadgets,suchas smartphones.Researchers can nowusetheadvancedmodelsof integratedcircuitaddlargenumbersof applicationandenhancethefunctionality of electronicdevices.

Figure1: Advanced IC forsmartdevices

Source:Moonbeam (2014)

Inaddition,theadvancesin electrical engineeringhavefacilitatedthedevelopmentsmallgadgets(suchas Apple Watch) that are moreconvenientforusers. In essence,technological advancesin thefieldof electronicshaveinfluencednearlyallotherprofessions,eitherdirectlyorindirectly.

Discipline:Mechanical engineering

Technologicaladvancesin thedisciplineof mechanicalengineeringhaveimprovedefficiencyin varioussectors,includingweaponsystem,compressors, kineticchains,vibrationisolation,engines,andvacuumtechnology among others. Theengineis one of theadvancesthat haveinfluencedthelivesof manymembersof thesocietysince enginescan be usedto movea widerangeof machines.Currently,themainfocusof researchers in thefieldof mechanicalengineeringis to developenginesthat consumelessfuel,runfaster,runforlongdistanceswithout a fill-up andusethenormalfuelwith forcedinduction(Gorzelany, 2014).Thedevelopmentof fuel-hydrogencells,hybridengines,andseveralgaseousalternativesare someof thelatestachievementsin thefieldof mechanicalengineering.Forexample,fittingturbo-chargers (shownin Figure 2) in thecarengineshaveallowedmechanicalengineersto reducethefuelconsumption,reduceemission,downsize theengine,improvingenginebraking, andDPF regeneration(Cummins Turbo Technologies, 2015).

Figure2: TurbochargingSource:Cummins Turbo Technologies (2015).

Discipline:Civil engineering

Technologicalprogressthathavebeenmadein thecivilengineeringsectorhaveenhancedefficiencyin theconstructionof privateandpublicinfrastructure,airports,railways,bridges,buildings,anddamsamong otherprojects.Thismeansthatthemainfocusof researchers andengineersin thecivilengineeringsectorhas beenthetransportandthehousingsectors.Forexample,civilengineershavemanagedto improvetheairtransportby developingan automatedbaggagehandlingsystem(shownin Figure 3), which reducesthestruggleof handlingtravelersluggagefrom one pointto theotherwhile in theairport(Mishra &amp Mishra, 2010).In addition,theautomatedbaggagehandlingsystemhas increasedefficiencyof servicedeliveryandmovementsin busyandinternationalairports,suchas Heathrow. Moreover,civilengineershavemanagedto modernizethetrunkrailwaysystems,which haveincreasedthespeedwith which trainscan moveas wellas theamountof goodsthat theycan carry.

Figure3: Automated baggagesystemSource:Mishra &amp Mishra (2010)

Technologicaladvancementsin thecivilengineeringdiscipline,especiallyin thetransportsector,havecontributedsignificantly inmakingthelivesof themodernsocietyeasy.

Environmentalimpactof technology

Negativeimpacts

Theimpactof technology on theenvironmentis debatablewhereone camparguesthatithas morepositivewhiletheothercampholdsthatithas morenegativeeffects.However,itis agreeablethattechnology has bothnegativeandpositiveeffectson theenvironment.Irresponsibledisposalof electronicgadgetsis one of thecommonnegativeeffectsof technology. Currently, manypeoplecan affordelectronicdevices(suchas phonesandcomputers),butthesegadgetsaredisposedintotheenvironmentdue to lackof environmentally friendlymethods.Itisestimatedthatonly15 % of e-waste ifbeingrecycled,whiletherest(75 %) is disposedintoincinerators andlandfills (Environmental Protection Agency, 2014). Inaddition,thedevelopmentof modernrailwaysystemsandairportshas resultedin significantencroachmentof landsince thesefacilitiesrequirelargerspaces.Someappliances(suchas dishwashers andlaundrymachines),which are productsof themoderntechnology requirealotof waterand energyto run,andthisresultsin thedisruptionof theecosystem (Stanic, 2014).Moreover,technological devices(suchas freezers andrefrigerators)releasefluorocarbons that leadto thedepletionof theozone layer.

Positiveimpacts

Althoughstudieshaveshownthattechnology havea numberof negativeimpactson theenvironment,there are otherstudiesthat havemanagedto identifythepositiveimpactsof technology. Forexample,theuseof turbo-chargerresultsin fuelsavingsby about5 % (approximately$ 1,300) in a carslifetime(EPA, 2015). Thismeansthattheenginetechnology has reducedfuelconsumptionsignificantly, which havein turnreducetherateof greengasemission.Moreover,theuseof the high-speedtrainsthat can carrya largenumberof passengersandcargohavereducedtheneedto usefuel-powered vehicles,thusreducingtheemissionof carbondioxide andothergreenhousegases.Moreover,technology has facilitatedthedevelopmentof newenergyproducingmachinesthat haveallowedthemodernsocietyto useenvironmentally friendlysourcesof technology. Someof thesetechnologies includetheuseof biomass forproductionof electricity,photovoltaic solarsystems,andhydrokinetic energysystems(EPA, 2015).

Ethicalaspects

Althoughtechnologyis a lifelessandamoral tool,its ethicalaspectscan be tracedfrom theprocessthrough which technologies aredevelopedandtheextentto which suchtechnologies curtail orextentthepowerof individuals.Ethicalissuesare morecommonin thedisciplineof electrical engineeringthan in otherengineeringdisciplines.Forexample,technological advancementhas resultedin thedevelopmentof surveillancemachines(suchas CCTV) that interfereswith theprivacyof individuals(Heaney, 2014). Mostimportantly, themannersin which theinformationanddata collectedby electronicgadgetsmay contribute towards theviolationof rightsof to privacy,especiallyof suchinformationare handledby unauthorizedpersons.

Moreover,technological advanceshaveincreasedthedifficultyof protectingintellectualproperties.Thisis becausedigital content is easyto copyanddistributeevenwithout theawarenessof theowner.Additionally, digital content can be accessedin differentcountrieswith differentethicalguidelines. Thismeansthata digital content can be consideredto be ethicalin one countryandunethicalin another(Montagnani, 2009). Moreover,theeasyof accessto thedigital content havecreatedan opportunityforcybercrime,cyber bullying, andthepropagationof pornographicmaterial.Based on utilitariantheory,thesetypesof crimeare morelikelyto increasethepainof themembersof thesocietythan increasingtheir happiness.However,thestakeholders in thetechnology sectorshould focuson addressingtheethicalissuessince technological advanceis inevitable.Engineersensurethatalltechnological advancesseekto maximize thewell-beingandhappinessof theusers.

Safetyaspects

Currently,technology isscriticalpartof humanlife,butthesafetyof its users is an issuethat should beconsidered.Similarto ethicalissues,theissueof users’ safetyis commonin theelectrical technology wheresomedeviceshavebeencriticizedforsubjectingusers to healthrisks.Forexample,lithium that iscommonlyusedin batteriesthat powerselectronicgadgetsis flammableandthisputsthesafetyof users at risk(Torqeedo, 2015). Moreover,sometechnological advances(suchas e-cigarettes) containcarcinogenic compoundsthat subjectuserat theriskof contractingcancer.To thisend,thestakeholders in allengineeringdisciplinesshould focuson designinganddeliveringproductsthat protectthehealthandtheoverall well-beingof thetargetuser. Therefore,itis theprimaryroleof professionalengineersto ensurethatproductsare testedforsafetybefore releasingthemto the market.

Conclusion

Technologyplaysan importantroleinthemodernsociety,butprofessionalengineersshould ensurethattechnological productsdeliveredto thesocietyare safe.Alldisciplinesof engineeringhavemademilestonesin termsof technological advances,buttheelectrical is currently theleadingsector.Technological advancesachievedin theelectrical disciplinedhavemainlyboostedthecommunicationsector.Civilengineeringhas promotedthetransportsector,especiallytheairandrailwaytransport.Mechanicalengineersandresearchers havemadea significantbreakthroughin severalsectors,butmostlythecar-engine.Inspiteofthesetechnological advancesthat havehelpedthesociety,technology has adverseeffectson theenvironment,which can negatethebenefitsthat thesocietygetsfrom technology. Moreover,there are severalethicalissues(suchas theviolationof rightsto privacyandcopyright) thatprofessionalengineersshould addressin orderto ensurethatthetechnological advancestheypresentto thesocietyhavemaximumbenefitsandminimumharm.

References

CumminsTurbo Technologies (2015). Advantages of Turbo-charging. CumminsTurbo Technologies.Retrieved February 11, 2015, fromhttp://www.cumminsturbotechnologies.com/ctt/navigationAction.do?url=SiteContent+en+HTML+ProductsAndTechnologies+Turbocharging_Benefits

EnvironmentalProtection Agency (2014). Statisticon the management of used and end-of-life electronics.Washington, DC: EPA.

EnvironmentalProtection Agency (2015). Engine technology. EPA.Retrieved February 11, 2012, fromhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/tech_engine_more.shtml

Gorzelany,J. (2014). Thebest new-car engines for 2014.London: Forbes.

Heaney,J. (2014). Impact of technology on privacy. EducationalPortal.Retrieved February 11, 2015, fromhttp://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/impact-of-technology-on-privacy.html

Mishra,D. &amp Mishra, A. (2010). Improving baggage tracking, security andcustomer services with RFID in the airline industry. ActaPolytechnica Hungarica,7 (2), 139-154.

Montagnani,M. (2009). A new interface between copyright law and technology.CardozoArts&amp Entertainment,26, 722-773.

Moonbeam,S. (2014). A preamplifier for Smartphone oscilloscope. AutodeskIncorporation.Retrieved February 11, 2015, fromhttp://www.instructables.com/id/A-Preamplifier-for-Smartphone-Oscilloscopes/step4/The-Full-Circuit/

Stanic,C. (2014). Badeffects of modern technology in the environment.Santa Monica: Demand Media.

Torqeedo(2015). Superiorsafety aspects with lithium batteries.Crystal Lake, IL: Torqee.

Related Posts

© All Right Reserved