Ethics has been defined as “the nature
of the good and the science of the right.” While this definition aims to ground
what is “good” and “right” in laws of nature and science, our understanding of
these laws are often themselves evolving or subject to interpretation. In an
exponentially changing world, driven by technological advances, ethics becomes
a critical domain of multidimensional human thought and action.
The Viterbi School’s mission is “to
engineer a better world for all humanity.” As future engineers, you are
learning to guide the evolution of technology in ways which are useful and
beneficial. To do so, you must develop a strong moral compass and an ethical mindset.
Learning about ethics and formulating ethical viewpoints and positions will
help you prepare for life as an engineer, to address unprecedented future
challenges and to avert the unintended consequences of rapidly evolving
technology. By clarifying your own ethics and building awareness of future
scenarios, you can hone the decision-making skills to lead in thought and
action. Developing an analytical approach to the ethical issues pertinent to
your field will allow you to engage meaningfully in its discourse and to assume
This assignment consists of 3 parts, in
which you will: clarify and articulate your own code of ethics; link your core values
with a diverse array of sources; and develop a framework for enacting your code.
Part 1: Code of Ethics (Code You)
In this part of the assignment, you
will create an original code of ethics, based on your own unique values. Your
code of ethics will consist of values integrated and connected in a cohesive
and systematic way; much like code tells the computer what to do, your code of
ethics drives your behavior and actions. The code should be 1 full page,
single-spaced document written in first person. The rhetorical style is formal,
proclamatory, and declarative. The code should be an enduring and foundational
document, both elegantly written and flexibly applied. The purpose of this
communication is to articulate your code clearly and be able to readily communicate
it to others.
Part 2: Code Context
Here you will give your code texture
and context by meaningfully linking each of the values in your code with a
diverse array of sources. Sources might be figures who have shaped your values
or simply references to people who share or exhibit them. This part should be a
1-2 page description or graphic display in which you correspond each of your
values with another person who shares that value. The purpose of this
communication is to show that while your code is a unique system as a whole, the
individual values that comprise it provide sustainable points of connection
with people from all walks of life. Identifying shared values helps you connect
with others, situate yourself in an ethical support “web,” create team alignment,
and build common ground. Recognizing values which do not align with yours is
also useful because it helps you seriously consider other people’s points of
view and learn through diversity.
Refer to 1 source from each of the
· A person who is close to you, such as a family member or a
· A professional role model or mentor
· A company’s code of ethics
· A historical figure or hero
· A professional society’s code of ethics
· A philosopher or ethicist
· A person who is currently famous or newsworthy
Part 3: Code Action
In this part of the assignment, you will
establish an ethical framework for putting your code into action and applying
it to a specific future purpose. Choose a current and controversial ethical
issue which is pertinent to your field. Research the different facets of the
issue and the positions that 4-5 prominent people in the field have taken on
it. Formulate your own stance on the issue based on facts, knowledge and sound
analysis. Your position should reflect a perspective or a point of view. That
means it is more robust than an opinion and that it contributes something new
to the existing landscape of thought on the issue, well-situated within a
fundamental knowledge base and the established positions of others. Communicate
your position clearly, precisely and confidently. Your goal is not necessarily to
persuade your audience, but to put forth a valuable perspective on a key issue.
This part should be about 6 pages long, double spaced. Use MLA citation format.
The purpose of this communication is to build your awareness of the pressing
issues in your field and to help prepare you to enter those conversations
equipped with frameworks for future action and leadership.
Steps to progress on this assignment:
Brainstorm/list out your values.
Map your values into a system or code.
Proclaim values in a formal code of
Collect references for shared values.
Create values matrix and situate self
Choose a pertinent issue or dilemma
and research it.
Gather viewpoints of prominent people
in the field on issue.
Develop your own perspective on issue
and articulate it.
Add to the conversation at the
Evaluation of assignment:
The Code of Ethics rubric will be used
to grade the assignment. All parts of the assignment will be reviewed and
discussed. Iterative feedback will be given during the writing process.