Swamy Laxminarayan's Legacy in Ethics, Social Issues ... - ICMCC

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Swamy Laxminarayan's Legacy in Ethics, Social Issues ... - ICMCC

Swamy Laxminarayan's Legacy

in Ethics, Social Issues and ICT:

The Virtue of Engagement

Brian M. O’Connell

Central Connecticut State University

The Swamy Laxminarayan Lecture on Medical & Care Compunetics


For leadership in social & ethical implications to biomedical engineering


Understanding the

Social Implications

of

ICT in Medicine &

Health:

The role of professional

societies

Brian M. O’Connell

Swamy Laxminarayan

IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology


Richard Cabot (1868-1939)

Brian M. O’Connell

Swamy Laxminarayan

IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology


Richard Hamming (1915-1998)


This leaves me the task of adding style to their

education, which in practice is usually the difference

between an average person and a great one.

Apparently an “art” – which almost by definition cannot

be put into words – is probably best communicated by

approaching it from many sides and doing so

repeatedly, hoping thereby students will finally master

enough of the art, or if you wish, style, to significantly

increase their contributions to society.


Often it is not physical limitations which control but

rather it is human made laws, habits … regulations,

personal egos, and inertia, which dominate the

evolution to the future. You have not been trained

along these lines as much as you should have been,

and hence I must be careful to include them whenever

the topics arise.

Engineering is a matter of choice and balance

rather than just doing what can be done.


Evidently, we want the word “creative” to include the

concept of value … Creativity seems, among other

things which were not perceived to be related before,

and it may be the initial psychological distance

between the things which counts most.

Similarly, only when you developed your abilities will

you generally get the freedom to practice your

expertise … including the expertise of “universality” as

I did.


We all have the experience of “tossing an idea around” with a

friend, or a few friends … from which insight, creativity, or

whatever you care to call it, arises and we make progress.


My contribution? Mainly, first identifying the problem, next

getting the right people together, then monitoring … It seems

to me from my experience this role is increasingly needed as

people get to be more highly specialized and narrower and

narrower in their knowledge


I strongly recommend this taking the time, on a

regular basis, to ask the larger questions and not

stay immersed in the sea of detail where almost

every one stays almost all of the time.

You need to work on the right problem at the

right time and in the right way – what I’ve

been calling “style”.


Engineering will increasingly be applied in

ways that achieve synergy between

technical and social systems.

National Academy of Engineering (US), The Engineer of 2020


The Swamy Laxminarayan Lecture

on Medical & Care Compunetics

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