Teaching Ethical Design in the Era of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems

Thomas Lee, Jennifer Boger, Maurice Mulvenna, RR Bond

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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How can the Turing-complete machines of tomorrow be designed ethically by the students of today? As the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems notes, there is growing concern that AI and other transformational technologies “remain human-centric, serving humanity’s values and ethical principles.” This concern is amplified in the context of engineering education as our curriculum still struggles to enter the 21st Century let alone address the accelerating complexities of modern era systems. This paper offers a contemporary perspective on the teaching of ethics as an integral part of design itself. Part of the framework of discourse is the notion of “ethical by design” as proposed by three of the authors of this paper, Mulvenna, Boger, and Bond. They proposed a pragmatic manifesto of principles to support developers, providers, and users in the collaborative process of inherently and explicitly including ethics into product and service design. One can view this manifesto as a practitioner’s perspective and we argue that it offers a useful starting point to revise engineering education’s historical approach to ethics as a legal and professional framework, to one that is accessible and integral in the engineering design process, adaptable to the evolving complexities of engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished online - 16 Nov 2018
EventWEEF-GEDC: Peace engineering - New Mexico , Albuquerque, United States
Duration: 11 Nov 201816 Nov 2018


Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • AI Ethics
  • Ethics
  • intelligent systems
  • Teaching ethics


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