Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Tim Healy: Ethics and Technology

When the Ethics Center joined forces with Loyola University Chicago and Boston College to sponsor a conference on Ethics and Technology in June, Tim Healy took unanticipated consequences as the subject of his conference paper, arguing that we must guard against the tendency to believe too easily in our own conclusions about the future.

[Tim Healy]
Tim Healy
Photo by Charles Barry

As the coordinator of the Ethics and Technology Program for the Center, Healy was instrumental in organizing Santa Clara University's contribution to this year's conference at Loyola, where he shared the stage with Thomas Shanks, S.J., executive director of the Ethics Center, and Laurie Mason, assistant professor of communication. Next June, the conference will be held at SCU.

Healy says his work on unanticipated consequences was heavily influenced by his participation in the Center's technology reading group. The 19 group members have been discussing texts together since fall 1996.

The Thomas J. Bannan Professor of Electrical Engineering at SCU, Healy has also co-taught a graduate-level course in engineering ethics with Shanks. Together, they are writing a text on professional ethics that draws on their experience in the class.

The ethics class might seem like quite a departure for Healy, who usually teaches engineering physics and communications theory. And Healy freely admits, "I never could see very well how to introduce ethics into the professional courses I teach."

But a lifelong interest in the humanities brought him to the Ethics Center about five years ago to attend various presentations. Now, he is a Center scholar and a member of the Steering Committee. The focus of his recent sabbatical was research in ethics and technology.