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Here is the central part of florman's argument from analogy quoted from his article, "moral blueprints" (harper's, october 1978, pp. 0-33):

If each person is entitled to medical care and legal representation, is it not equally important that each legitimate business entity, government agency, and citizens' group should have access to expert engineering advice? If so, then it follows that engineers (within the limits of conscience) will sometimes labor on behalf of causes in which they do not believe. Such a tolerant view also makes it easier for engineers to make a living.

What do you think florman means by "within the limits of conscience"?

Nathaniel Borenstein a widely respected expert on intelligent systems found himself under just this kind of situation. A committed pacifist, he assiduously avoided getting involved in military projects, even when asked repeatedly by representives of the military. But something said to him by one of these military representatives led him to reassess his position. Borenstein was asked to develop a training simulation to teach individuals how to work with the nuclear missile launching system. When he found that it involved "embedded training" he became very concerned. To appreciate the full extent of his concern and the reasons that persuaded him to get involved in this project, it is best to turn to his own words:

Borenstein on embedded training

Embedded training, in particular, struck me as a very poor idea. Training by computer simulation has been around for a long time. Embedded training takes this one step further: it does the simulation and training on the actual command and control computer. To exaggerate slightly, whether or not anyone actually dies when you press the "launch missiles" button depends on whether or not there is a little line at the top of the screen that says "SIMULATION."

Borenstein continues

Such a system seems almost designed to promote an accidental nuclear war, and this thought was what persuaded me to attend the workshop in the first place. One can all too easily imagine human error--"I could have sworn it was in the 'simulation' mode--as well as frightening technical possibilities. Perhaps, due to some minor programming bug, the word "SIMULATION" might fail to disappear when it was supposed to. Someone approaching the computer would get the wrong idea of what it was safe to type.

These quotes are taken from: nathaniel s. borenstein, "my life as a nato collaborator" in the bulletin of the atomic scientists, april 1989: 13-20.

    A thought exercise

  • Think of Borenstein's concerns and eventual actions in light of Florman's analogy.
  • Does Borenstein have the obligation to set aside his pacifism to work on correcting this training problem?
  • Does Florman's analogy provide the justification for this? Or is Borenstein acting on the basis of a very different set of arguments?
  • Assume that you are a committed pacifist. Was Borenstein right to set aside his beliefs to work on this project? Did he really set aside his beliefs?

Questions & Answers

Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
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Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
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Cied
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Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
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Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
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Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
AMJAD
what is system testing
AMJAD
what is the application of nanotechnology?
Stotaw
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
Azam
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
Prasenjit
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
Azam
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
Prasenjit
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
Damian
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
Damian
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
Azam
Hello
Uday
I'm interested in Nanotube
Uday
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
Prasenjit
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
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Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Business ethics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 04, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10491/1.11
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