Dr Armengou explains the relationship between ethics and technology

03/05/17
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Dr Jaume Armengou, vice-rector for Academic Organisation and International Relations at UIC Barcelona, gave a conference to upper-secondary school students in which he explained the difficult relationship between ethics and technology. As both are a part of our daily lives, he discussed how important it is for "us to be as compassionate as possible in our actions in order to achieve the goal of technology".

Armengou began the talk with a question: "If a bridge collapses, who's at fault?" Taking this as the basis, he spoke about the influence of the technician and their understanding of ethics in the judge's final ruling. Experts are often prone to dilemmas, of which Dr Armengou raised three. One, the truth versus protecting the weak: sometimes, although the technician knows the planner is at fault, the blame falls on the builder because the builder is viewed as being able to pay the fine more easily. The second dilemma has to do with resignation versus opportunistic rulings, which occurs when the expert, advanced in age, is no longer expert enough to advise the judge due to technological developments and, as a result, lies out of ignorance. The last dilemma deals with the question of whether the technician is saying everything he or she knows.

During the talk, Dr Armengou sought to impress on the upper-secondary school students, many of whom study sciences, of the importance of ethics in many situations in life, even when building a bridge or a road. The students were in constant communication with the lecturer, who asked them a number of questions and clarified any doubts they might have had.

This conference was the last in the Philosophy Seminar Series organised by the Faculty of Humanities, an annual event aimed at upper-secondary school students.