Research paper on Applied Ethics in Engineering and Computer Technologies


In the article Intellectual property and the Information Age, Richard DeGeorge discusses three features that effectively influence the bundle of rights that constitutes intellectual property. The first feature is that the intellectual property is shareable.  The second feature is that any expression of some idea is built on the prior knowledge. The third feature is that such intellectual property is considered to be fundamentally social. It means that it is not only socially developed, but also it is very important to share knowledge with others for further development of the nation. It is also found that DeGeorge claims in his article that the ethical justification for copyright is twofold. The first one is considered to be a basically utilitarian justification, while the second justification for copyright is justification of fairness. In the first case, the society encourages production and provides promotion of the products. In the second case, it is found that those who spend their time and money on the development of their ideas, should be recompensed. Besides, DeGeorge claims that the argument from analogy with other items gives an opportunity to argue that moral justifiability of lending and copying software for personal use is grounded. It is known that the legal property rights in software are regarded as a tool for the function of the system of property and law. Copying software is not an immoral act. However, it is claimed to be immoral because it is absolutely illegal. One of the advantages of information is that it can be shared with others. For example, downloading music is justifiable both legally and ethically. However, today music and movie industry uses many marketing techniques and new technology to have commercial interest when they rent movies at a reasonable price.


            In the article Offshoring and the Local Ethics of Engineering, Joel Cuello claims that the local ethics of engineering encompasses two lines of reasoning. Two lines of reasoning mean the ethics of identity and the ethics of efficiency. The ethics of identity consists of the individual’s capacities. Any individual in this world has an opportunity to construct his own identity which can be regarded as a response to his capacities. In engineering, capacities constitute identities of engineers. The ethics of efficiency is focused on maximizing the comparative advantage or specialization, while the ethics of identity helps to preserve the appropriate economic conditions which make it possible to improve capacities of engineers. To sum up, the ethics of engineering is based on two aspects concerning offshoring: the ethics of identity which determines that offshoring should be curbed by means of policy, while the ethics of efficiency proves the fact that the impact of offshoring should maximize the comparative advantage in the USA. In the article, Offshoring Realities and Responsibilities, the author James Vinoski disagrees with Winner about the responsibility of engineers to curtail the offshoring of engineering jobs. Vinoski disagrees with Winner because he is sure that curbing the current offshoring rates in order to achieve the appropriate workable level that will be compatible with trade in the USA. I find Vinoski’s view more plausible as it is more realistic.


In the article The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, Nick Bostrom and Eliezer Yudkowsky claim that two criteria are commonly proposed as being linked to moral status.  In this case, moral status is focused on the ability to feel pain. It means that any human person has moral status, while a rock has no moral status. Any person should be treated morally. The two criteria that are proposed as being linked to morals status include sentience and sapience, or personhood. The first criteria, sentience stands for the capacity to have phenomenal experience (or qualia), for example the capacity to feel pain and to suffer from something. The second criteria, sapience stands for the set of some capacities that are closely connected with the high level of intelligence, for example, self-awareness and the ability to act as a reason-responsive agent in any situation. It is known that only human beings can have sapience which provides the highest level of moral status. The authors of the article discuss the major principles that are relevant for making assessment of the moral status of artificial intelligence (AI). They include the principle of substrate non-discrimination, and the principle of ontogeny non-discrimination. The principle of substrate non-discrimination  means that in case two individuals have practically the same type of functionality as well as the same conscious experience, but they are absolutely different in substrate of their implementation , they can have similar moral status. The principle of ontogeny non-discrimination means that in case two individuals have similar functionality as well as conscious experience, but they are different in the way they came to the existence , these individuals can have the same moral status.

Leave a Reply