Adonis Diaries

Restructuring engineering schools and practices: Daydream project

Posted on: February 3, 2012

Daydream project: Restructuring engineering schools and practices…

Technological breakthroughs are exhibiting their medium-term harms: We are at the beginning phase for experiencing the benefits and harms of technologies that we can invent and produce, but do not comprehend or grasp the consequences.

We are traversing a dangerous period without adequate check and balance on the production of new inventions, and are tampering with human genome and agricultural and animal cloning: The consequences might be irreversible this time around on our survival.

We have created enough tools, processes, and know-how to invent all kind of products without the need of thorough theoretical foundations.  It is like a machine that invents new machines with what it already knows. The vast array of tools technology has in its arsenal is driving more technologies:  Theory is becoming an after thought.  Since science requires a rational model, the fast pace of technological inventions decided it can do without theory or rational models .

Experiments require plenty of time, financial and human resources in order to validate and test the consequences of new technological products on human health, and safe usage. The backlog for long-term testing is stretching long, particularly initiated when consumers lodge complaints and file legal suits, and health and safety evaluations can never catch up with what is thrown in the market place.

For example, developed States have realized that a process for testing and validating the consequences of pharmaceutical products before marketing was a must to safeguard health and safety of the consumers; but even that process was not adequate enough or ethically stringently applied when pharmaceutical new products were tested in the third world populations.

Technology is the new metaphysical ideology for defining youth:  You are as young as you can keep up with new updates.  How fast and how readily you can manipulate and use new gadgets is the main criterion for youthfulness, for keeping your membership in the new cult.

The technology cult means that you should have faith in what the market is providing you in updates and inventions, because ultimately, it is you, the kid, the youth who is testing, validating and selling the technology at your own risk.

Technology is basically a cultural revolution against abstract or theoretical works, whether in religion, metaphysics, or sciences. The motto in the technology circles is : “There is no good or evil in technology. Let us keep inventing and let the less expensive and quicker trial and error methods sort out what is beneficial to mankind.  Let youth, these flexible and adaptable mind, these spiritually and culturally ignorant spirits, and these energetically undaunted and bold souls, be our guinea pigs as they used to be historically”.

Mind you that “corporation universities” are surpassing traditional universities and retraining graduates to specific technological fields, sort of hand-on the main business products or services.  Basically, corporation universities are sending the message that the baggage of knowledge of graduates is not appropriate for this fast technology innovation, and fast turn-over of new products.

What of this new “knowledge slavery” of keeping graduate students in a state of training and retraining positions in order to saving money on hiring new personnel and professionals? For more details read https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/how-long-have-you-graduated-are-you-still-in-training/

For all the above reasons, it is becoming urgent to rethink how engineering schools are structured.

First of all, since engineering is fundamentally a design field for mankind, the main goal for designing and redesigning objects, systems, and services is to focus on the health, safety, and dangerous malfunctions of any product sold to consumers. The design process is to cater to the target users, and also to the eventual usage of other people not trained or aware of the warnings.

It is necessary that first year engineers and designers (graphic designers, architects…) be conversant with the consequences of designing any product and the various testing and evaluation procedures of the extent to which any design might harm and injure clients.

Learning the different error taxonomies and the research studies on human behaviors when exposed to new objects and systems are a must for any engineer.

Second year engineers should be methodically taught the various experimental designs, and not wait for graduate programs to brush on this highly important field of designing experiments. This idea that the theories behind design are sacrosanct and need not be revisited is a dangerous concept: We need not live with the illusion that we do know how the natural world function.  Critical innovations are generated by revisiting old theories and practices through more experimentation perspectives.

Mind you that people live under different cultures, customs and idiosyncracies, and the designer first task is to be knowledgeable of the culture of the customers. “Good design captures and takes control of every interface and interaction between the consumer and the brand, right down to the tiniest details, from opening to closing of the package…” Grant McCraken

Any engineering research study must be explicit on how the data, results, and recommendations can be applicable in design projects for the health, safety, and comfort of users and operators.

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

February 2012
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