Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Grand Challenges for Engineering

Since it's debut on the Siemens PLM Software Blog, the CAD pundits are having a go with the Challenge. http://www.engineeringchallenges.org/ I personally like Evan's the best, so far.

But how about a vote for none of the above?

OK, fine, I'll play the game. For those of you who don't know, the correct answer is energy. Why, because without it we can't have the rest. Now that I've played, can I go back to why I vote for none of the above?

Simply put, it is the Grand Challenges for Engineers, yet it says nothing about the state of engineering. These are engineering tasks that may be challenging. What do engineers say?
The difficult I can do right away, the impossible may take a while.
That's because all engineers look at problems as a challenge, not an obstacle. These challenges may be difficult today, but why? We know from past experience that tomorrow, these concepts will be taught in grade schools. So why fret over a technical objective?

Personally, I think these are challenges simply because of greed. Yep, some company is looking at these technologies wondering how it can make a fortune on it rather than looking at in with regards to how it will benefit mankind. As an engineer, our duty is to protect the health and welfare of the public. Deadlines and budgets come into contraint only because society says I need to pay for gas and groceries, and I need to remain employed to collect a paycheck. If I didn't, I'd engineer for free. Given time and resources, engineers can accomplish anything.

I think a better set of challenges for engineers would be:
  • Sharing our ethics with other professional disciplines.
  • Profess the benefits of licensure.
  • Remove obstacles from engineering for the benefit of people, rather than the benefit of corporations.
Feel free to add your own.
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