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Ethics, Leadership, and Technology: Social Change in the Global Society of the 21st Century

William A. (Bill) Brant, J.D., P.E.

A revolution in global ethics is approaching societies in the twenty-first century. If ethics is not adopted voluntarily, it will be mandated by governments. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002 is an example of mandated ethics that spread globally. International standards on Social Responsibility, including ethical behavior, are being drafted. The ethical revolution will be akin to the quality revolution of the 1970s.

More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle viewed ethics as a two way street between the individual and the polis. Today, the two way ethical street involves an intermediary, firm, organization, corporation, and the state, but is applicable for the twenty-first century. In the organization, ethics must flow from top to bottom, and bottom to top. Individuals must think, act, and be ethical.

Ethics develops trust, a fundamental ingredient in any relationship. Leadership starts with character and ethics. Global ethics requires ethical individuals and leaders. The “flattening” of the world by instantaneous information and “knowledge workers” will change organizations and societies.

Advanced technology requires ethical leaders to achieve a balance between individual liberty, society, and technology. The importance of the Technology Triangle is shown. The Technology Triangle develops the Society-Technology-Liberty/Individual relationship showing how technology is integrated into society while balancing individual liberties.

Three of the greatest ethical concerns that face us individually and as a global society are discussed. These ethical concerns are defined in Bioethics, Neuroethics, and Roboethics and could very well portend the future of mankind.

It is easy to foresee the twenty-first century cannot survive with twentieth century ethics.

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.