Dr. Alefiya Hussain hosted a panel on Engineering Ethics at the USC Center for Interdisciplinary Decisions and Ethics (DECIDE) on October 28th. The panel was part of the Fall symposium on Next Generation Ethics and addressed some of the engineering ethical dilemmas we face today or will face in the near future with advances in various technologies in the area of cyber physical systems and the Internet of Things.
The panel drew upon the expertise of four area leaders in engineering, namely, Prof. Ershaghi, Prof. Carlsson, Dr. Paul, and Dr. Hussain. Prof. Iraj Ershaghi is the executive director of CiSoft and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He presented the current state-of-the-art in petroleum engineering and the ethical dilemmas raised due to CPS technology in the oilfields. Prof. John Carlsson is an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at USC. John discussed ethical challenges faced by optimization algorithms for drones and robotic technologies. Dr. Don Paul is the executive director of the USC Energy Institute. He presented the ethics of privacy and security in the workplace and discussed the challenges of policies such as BYOD (bring-your-own-device) and Internet monitoring and regulation within work environments.
Dr. Alefiya Hussain presented her work on ethics and privacy in cyber physical systems. She first outlined how these systems have evolved over the last decade. The well segmented generation-transmission-distribution energy systems are evolving to complex producer-consumer systems where users are empowered to generate their own energy and sell surpluses back to the grid. She then outlined several ethical and privacy dilemmas this raises, due to sharing of data, political and legal ramifications of empowered actors, and liabilities and responsibilities of the next generation pro-consumers. Dr. Hussain's presentation is linked here.
The panel was well received and resulted in active discussion amongst the participants and the audience. In addition to the engineering panel, the symposium also hosted a panel on Ethics in Healthcare and an interdisciplinary panel on Business, Healthcare, Industry and Privacy Ethics. The complete program is available at: http://decide.usc.edu/next-generation-ethics-symposium