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Reimagining the future of engineering

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  • DfX Consulting LLC
Chapter

Reimagining the future of engineering

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Abstract

Reimagining suggests the idea of opening up new, unconventional spaces of possibilities for an activity or an entity that already exists. This chapter sketches some ideas of the future of engineering in various aspects: designing, action, problem framing, professional and disciplinary identity, and the training of future engineers. The thoughts presented here are intended to be inconclusive. They take up and address the question of reimagining the future of engineering in order to inspire future dialogue between philosophers and engineers. Keywords Engineering education, engineering ethics education, future of engineering, responsibility, fPET Reimagining suggests the idea of opening up new, unconventional spaces of possibilities for an activity or an entity that already exists. At its most transformative, the activity of reimagining develops spaces of possibilities that alter the very definition of that activity or entity. What then would it be to reimagine the future of engineering? An exploration of such a topic cannot be done well by a single individual but rather requires the combined perspectives and insights of a number of people. The thoughts presented in this chapter had their beginnings in a workshop on this topic which took place at a meeting of the Forum on Philosophy, Engineering and Technology (fPET) at the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2018. Because participants in the workshop came from the fPET community, they included philosophers and engineers from both inside and outside the academy. On this account, reimagining the future of engineering is a matter of reimagining and redrawing the spaces of engineering itself: spaces for designing, action, problem framing, professional and disciplinary identity, and for the training of future engineers. The virtuality of future engineering A concrete example of one new space in engineering is digital space. Digital technology permeates engineering work, just like it does all parts of human life. In cyber-physical architectures, digital representations are closely associated with the physical systems to which they refer, such that both are treated as a unity. Comprehensive simulations are used to support the design of such systems, which provide digital representations of physical phenomena that include user behavior to get to

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