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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.

Course Outline

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 can not 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.

Learning Objective

At the end of Ethics, Leadership, and Technology: Social Change in the Global Society of the 21st Century, you will learn:

Intended Audience

Anyone interested in the affects of ethics and our future as individuals and global societies should take this course. Much of the course content, although in more depth here, developed out of lectures presented to the San Antonio local sections of ASME and ASCE.

Benefit to Attendees

The course provides a view of ethics from leadership and technology perspectives and presents ethical problems, we, as individuals and as a global society must satisfactorily answer before "Singularity" is reached, projected by 2045.

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file (1.1 MB) Ethics, Leadership, and Technology: Social Change in the Global Society of the 21st Century.

Two internet links should be viewed as appropriate in reviewing the course content: Dr. David G. Amen's website called BrainPlace and a robots website

You need to open or download above documents to study this course.

Course Summary

By knowing and applying ethics personally, professionally, and for the global society, you will:

1. Determine whether ethics will be voluntary or mandated.
2. Know ethics is a two way street between the individual and the Polis.
3. Know and appreciate the delicate balance of the Technology Triangle.
4. Know and start to appreciate the ethical concerns in Bioethics, Neuroethics, and Roboethics.
5. Understand the rapid advancement of technology and the ethical dilemmas that are created.

Course References and Links

Course references, endnotes, websites, and acknowledgments are provided with the Course Content.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.