Reference no: EM131172955
"To be an engineer and nothing but an engineer.. .."
Mark Bessoudo is a Canadian engineer who works as a consultant on green buildings and sustainability of the built environment. He has eclectic tastes. Mark writes on subjects that range from science to philosophy, although he claims that both subjects are closely related and that they both represent our attempts to understand our Universe. Read more about Mark Bessoudo at his website - https://markbessoudo.com/about/
We shall study Mark's prize-winning article, Plato for plumbers, that he wrote for the widely available magazine NewPhilosopher. Mark has generously given us his permission to copy and use his work in our classes.
Task 1 - Write about 150 words on the life and work of Mark Bessoudo.
Task 2 - In about 200 words paraphrase the section in Plato for plumbers the section "An understanding of human values ......... instil more humanism into engineering."
Task 3 - Write between 50 and 100 words in response to each of the following:
1. Given our discussions on 'Why before What' and not being too explicit in revealing our hand when writing how has the author attempted to engage the reader in the two opening sentences of his article? What aspect of writing style might have motivated him to use the word 'truism' and omit the word "and" between 'technical and exponential'?
2. How has the author continued to engage readers in the opening paragraph?
3. In what way are we active and passive participants in our social environment?
4. Is the 'landscape' described in the first paragraph conducive to human well-being? Give reasons for your answer.
5. According to the author, members of which profession are creating this landscape? Why might our geological era be dubbed the Anthropocene? How might future generations of archaeologists identify it?
6. What is the problem with the education of engineers?
7. To which academic discipline do questions of value, virtue, beauty and justice traditionally belong? How are these issues relevant to architectural and building engineering?
8. Discuss why a fusing of the tactile and intellectual is important in architectural engineering.
9. What is the principal message conveyed by the paragraph "Engineers may indeed stand ........ never look back"? How is this message reinforced - or otherwise - by contemporary engineering courses?
10. For what 'nobler ends' do you think architectural and building engineers should strive?
11. The author suggests that engineers should develop a cognitive toolkit that enables them to appreciate wider societal issues to avoid creating artefacts and systems that have unintended consequences, like a kind of technological second hand smoke. Give five examples of what you consider to be engineer-induced, or at least engineer-synergized, second hand smoke.
12. If we are to educate wisdom-loving engineers how might the existing engineering curriculum be modified?
13. What is meant by "the classical thought experiments once confined to the classes of Philosophy 101"?
14. Autonomous vehicles may be common-place within a decade. Why might engineers be called upon to embed solutions to the trolley problem into vehicle control software?
15. Describe three situations analogous to the trolley problem that may confront engineers.
16. How does virtual reality impinge upon questions of epistemology and the nature of reality?
17. Describe how virtual reality might affect aspects of architectural and building engineering.
18. Mark Bessoudo avers that artificial general intelligence (AGT) could prove an existential threat to our species. How does the author suggest that engineers might reduce this threat?
19. Jose Ortega y Gasset made the oft quoted statement: "I wish it would dawn on engineers that, in order to be an engineer, it is not enough to be an engineer." According to Mark Bessoudo how must engineers transform their thinking so that they appreciate what it means to be human?
20. Does the question asked in the final paragraph reflect the author's optimism or pessimism? Justify your answer.