What Computer Engineers should know about Socially Responsible Engineering

Note: This opinion piece was written for Engineering 7102: The Engineering Profession. It was proof-read by my other group members: Adam Sheppard, Grant O’Brien and James Power.

Professional-looking hackerSome say that the atomic bomb brought about the idea of socially-responsible science. We believe that the increasing importance of computers requires focusing our attention on socially responsible engineering. Moore’s Law dictates that computing power doubles every 18 months and was accurate for much of the 20th century. Even with Moore’s Law becoming a thing of the past [1], our increasing dependence on digital devices leaves us in a vulnerable state. Current-day engineers (and computer engineers in particular) need to heed the call of ensuring that these magnificent and marvelous machines are not used for evil. There are computers in cars, computers in shoes, computers in our pockets; all of which are owned by many people in modern society. There has never been a time when the work of computer engineers has been more closely engrained into society.

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