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Keynote Address
Pages 1-6

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From page 1...
... You have to be elected by the existing membership, and that election is generally considered a high honor. Back in 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, a group of Americans got together and created the National Academy of Sciences.
From page 2...
... We just had the annual meeting of the National Academy of Engineering, at which the president is expected to deliver an address on an issue of importance to the engineering community. For the 1999 meeting, since we were about to approach the transition to the millennium, I decided to talk about the accomplishments of engineers in the twentieth century and the challenges facing them in the twenty-first century.
From page 3...
... In the end, I was convinced that I should pose only one challenge for the twenty-first century -- engineering ethics. The quickening pace of technological innovation, the spread of nano-, bio-, and information technology, coupled with the vastly increased complexity of systems engineers are building, I now believe raise a new class of ethical questions that the engineering profession hasn't thought about.
From page 4...
... I can remember talking with my father and my uncle, who were both engineers, about ethical issues ranging from appropriate safety margins to undue pressure from management. I have similar vivid memories of discussions with my professors when I was in school, and with my colleagues.
From page 5...
... I find it fascinating that the general public tolerates a large number of errors in computer software. At any given moment, there are roughly half a million to a million bugs in the Microsoft Office suite, for example.
From page 6...
... I happened on a quote from John Ladd, an emeritus professor of philosophy at Brown University, that seems apropos. "Perhaps the most mischievous side effect of ethical codes is that they tend to divert attention from the macro ethical problems of a profession to its micro ethical ones." Thank you.

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