This semester, in the IDEAS program, I am registered for IDEAS IV. This “class” however, is not really a class that meets every week. This semester, the IDEAS seminars have split up into different groups and are working on projects, separately, that will eventually tie into everyone’s respective IDEAS major.
I have two other members in my group, and we will be working on one of the “Grand Challenges for Engineering”. Our project will be to follow a challenge, do research on it and determine the different impacts of it, and maybe even try to follow through with it.
The Grand Challenges for Engineering, (http://www.engineeringchallenges.org/cms/challenges.aspx), are several “problems” that the world is facing today. The challenge is to figure out solutions for them. The most important part of this project is asking the questions, because without asking the question, there will be no discussion on the topic.
We’re going down a slippery slope now!
This is one of Professor Best’s favorite lines to use when the IDEAS seminars discuss ethical issues in engineering and technology.
Although it be a little overused, this quote really does describe a lot of the things that are discussed in the IDEAS seminars. The IDEAS seminar is a place to ask questions about society, ethics and disasters that generally would not be asked anywhere else. With this in mind, a lot of questions that are asked open a whole can of worms, because everyone has a different view on the topic and people start to argue with each other. (That’s probably one of the funnest things about IDEAS) If you’re interested in constructive arguments with people, then IDEAS just might be for you!
For this semester in the IDEAS seminar, Professor Best has decided that one of the focuses of the IDEAS seminar will be “Biomedical ethics”. What this actually means, is that the class of about 40 students will be discussing some of the many controversial decisions that companies have made that may not have been for the better of society, but solely for the returns a product may bring.
The seminar will be divided up into three groups who will be reading different books and looking and separate case studies. I, personally, want to be in the group who reads Frankinstein by Marry Shelly. One of the topics that came up in the lecture was how the media plays a big role in changing the facts and making people see things differently. I feel like this really goes well with biomedical ethics and decision making, because the media can make people believe that a company is doing something right and the general population will not question it. This is probably one of the worst things people can do, and this is one of the main reasons the IDEAS seminar exists. To make students QUESTION things and not just accept what is shown, and this is one of the reasons I find the IDEAS seminar very, very, very interesting.