Can we do it, should we do it, if we do it, can we control it, and are we willing to be accountable for it (Engineering 1) These questions, along with many others, encompass every decision made in engineering today. It was not always that way, though. Before technology gripped all aspects of life, ethics were not a very important part of the engineering profession. With the advancement of technology, however, the importance of responsibility has increased just as much.
Around 150 years ago, engineering was a fairly new profession. Not much attention was paid to the design of structures and other everyday commodities. A big reason for this is because the technological advances of today did not exist. Therefore, everything was done in a much simpler way. Engineering ethics were hardly even a consideration in everyday design. An engineer's only ethical commitment was loyalty to his or her employee(Engineering 1). A major reason for this is the simplicity of everything designed. Skyscrapers did not exist nor did bridges spanning miles over water hundreds of feet deep or airplanes flying miles in the air. Sewage was dumped into rivers and streams and health risks were not as closely monitored. For these reasons, along with many others, engineers did not have to worry as much about their designs. They did not have to worry about thousands of people dying in a major building or bridge collapse. Airplanes and space shuttles could not have failures that would hurl them and their passengers to certain death. Automobiles did not exist, let alone rule everyday life and travel at excessive speeds. Diseases were not as pertinent as they are in today's world. None of these problems were even dreamt of. The worries back then included a wheel breaking on a carriage and a plank on a wooden bridge failing. These problems led to a tilted carriage or a person falling a few feet into a stream or small river, neither of which has any major consequence.