The social responsibility of engineers


There are mistakes and mistakes. Medical doctors, when they graduate, make an oath. There is an organization in charge of analyzing mistakes because it’s something of a tremendous responsibility. Sometimes I have the impression that engineers forget about their social responsibility as engineers. A product may kill people. A mistake in a transportation that causes an accident may kill people. An airbag failure kills people. A programming mistake in a spacecraft costs a gazillion dollars and, if it’s manned, kills people.

However, engineers are free to think any bullshit they want, and say these same bullshits in an professional environment without any consequences. Almost as if engineers had no responsibility at all with human life, just with machines and counting bits. This must end.