Agriculture Reference
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new solutions to perennial human problems by designing more effective devices
and improving computational methodologies. Nonetheless, in our zeal to push
the envelopes of science, and design we must not ignore some of the larger,
societal repercussions of our research and advances is design techniques; that is,
we must employ new paradigms of macroethics.
William A. Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering, intro-
duced the term macroethics , defining it as a societal behavior that increases the
intellectual pressure “to do the right thing” for the long-term improvement of
society. Balancing the potential benefits to society of advances in biotechnology
and nanotechnology while also avoiding negative societal consequences is a type
of macroethical dilemma. 4 Macroethics asks us to consider the broad societal
impact of science in shaping research agendas and priorities. At the same time,
microethics is needed to ensure that researchers and practitioners act in accor-
dance with scientific and professional norms, as dictated by standards of practice,
community standards of excellence, and codes of ethics. 5 The engineering pro-
fession and engineering education standards require attention to both the macro
and micro dimensions of ethics. Criterion 3, “Program Outcomes and Assess-
ment” of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET),
includes a basic microethical requirement for engineering education programs,
identified as “(f) an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility,”
along with macroethical requirements that graduates of these programs should
have “(h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering
solutions in a global and societal context” and “(j) a knowledge of contemporary
issues.” 6
Medical device design can parallel green design. One technique used to de-
velop and adapt devices is concurrent engineering, which is a systematic ap-
proach that integrates numerous elements and advances the design process in
a parallel manner as we advocate in our synthovation model rather than in
a serial sequential approach. This should sound similar to the sustainable de-
sign approach. In fact, the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon
University includes the life-cycle perspective in its definition of concurrent engi-
neering : “a systematic approach to integrated and concurrent development of a
product and its related processes. Concurrent engineering emphasizes response
to customer expectations and embodies team values of cooperation, trust, and
sharing-decision making proceeds with large intervals of parallel work by all life-
cycle perspectives, synchronized by comparatively brief exchanges to produce
consensus.” 7
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