Engineering for problems of excess

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Engineering is often concerned with solving problems and creating solutions to challenges faced by humanity. Engineering approaches that were central to improving life in past centuries dealt with problems of scarcity: how to grow more food, how to allow greater communication among people, how to transport goods more quickly, or how to generate more power. As evidenced by the industrial revolution, the green revolution, and the information revolution, these purely technical approaches to engineering have transformed the world. The engineering successes of past centuries, however, have given rise to new engineering challenges that are not just technical but sociotechnical in scope. These new challenges are problems of excess rather than of scarcity - problems such as obesity, information overload, and climate change. People's behaviors are critical in large-scale sociotechnical systems and engineers must necessarily consider interactions between people and technical systems when considering these problems. Since engineering designs for problems of excess require consideration and potential modification of human behavior, they may appear to be dehumanizing and mechanistic. Drawing on the biomedical ethics framework of Beauchamp and Childress, we discuss several technologies for addressing problems of excess in terms of beneficence, non-maleficence, respect for autonomy, and justice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781479949922
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014 - Chicago, United States
Duration: May 23 2014May 24 2014

Publication series

Name2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014

Other

Other2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014
CountryUnited States
CityChicago
Period5/23/145/24/14

Fingerprint

Drawing (graphics)
Climate change
Excess
Large scale systems
Engineers
Communication
Scarcity
Biomedical Ethics
Autonomy
Beneficence
Nonmaleficence
Problem Solving
Engineering Design
Obesity
Rise
Human Behavior
Industrial Revolution
Justice
Revolution
Food

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Varshney, L. R. (2014). Engineering for problems of excess. In 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014 [6893447] (2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/ETHICS.2014.6893447

Engineering for problems of excess. / Varshney, Lav R.

2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., 2014. 6893447 (2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Varshney, LR 2014, Engineering for problems of excess. in 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014., 6893447, 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014, Chicago, United States, 5/23/14. https://doi.org/10.1109/ETHICS.2014.6893447
Varshney LR. Engineering for problems of excess. In 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. 2014. 6893447. (2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014). https://doi.org/10.1109/ETHICS.2014.6893447
Varshney, Lav R. / Engineering for problems of excess. 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., 2014. (2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, ETHICS 2014).
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