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22
Posted by3 months ago

What is the State of Philosophy and Ethics of the Future? Building my career path now and can't figure out how.

Context:

  • In my 3rd Year University, pursuing Computer and Electrical Engineering.

  • found myself gravitating towards Philosophy and Ethics ever since I took an online course with Yale University 2 years ago.

  • I do wish to pursue further in both arenas, possibly an amalgamation of both.

My concerns at the moment are:

  1. What is the state of philosophy/ ethics/ morality as a field in the future?

  2. Upon doing brief research, I found myself resonating a lot with what an ex-Google employee, Tristan Harris is doing as a tech-ethicist. What is the future prospect of this or anything akin to it?

  3. Any suggestions for education path? Ie. taking a full degree course of Philosophy next, or Masters in Engineering with a minor in Philosophy.

  4. What are the possible alternative career paths?

Thanking to those who entertain this post in advance.

21 comments
85% Upvoted
level 1
ModModerator Achievement · 3 mo. ago · Stickied comment

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level 1
· 3 mo. ago
Early Analytic, Kant, 19th c. Continental

It's very hard to get a job in philosophy, but the subfield with the most growth right now is tech ethics. People with technical competence and philosophical training are in demand, at least relative to other subfields. There are even a few industry positions (e.g. Google hires ethicists with philosophy PhDs and technical backgrounds).

If this is an avenue you want to pursue, I'd say it's ideal to finish your engineering degree, then take a philosophy MA at a good MA program with tech ethics faculty.

15
level 2
Op · 3 mo. ago

Interesting. If you were in my position, what are some of the concrete steps you would take for the same goal?

4
level 2
Op · 3 mo. ago

What would you suggest, for a 3rd Year ECE student, do in the meantime before proceeding with the MA? Eg. Read certain books, philosophers, watch/ listen someone or something? In order to ‘dip my feet in the waters’ of tech ethics?

1
level 1

Tech ethics mate, 100%. But I'm going to be level with you. Companies all make their money by leveraging user data. So that ship has sailed. What's left? "not offending people" with our "ai chat bot" or similar. It's sadly very limited in scope, and your managers will come in with a predefined concept of what the 'solution' should be.

It's what made me quite IT actually. I witnessed companies harnessing human genome and personal data in order to predict the social outcomes based on both an individual genomic markup and studying their interactions - only to hear the boss say 'If the government comes knocking, evidently we'll give them all the data'.

Careful not to help build something that you won't be able to live with when you get older and it's in place. I can 100% guarantee you that i know of top notch IT guys who all tell me the same story : "I had good intentions, now i wish i could undo what i created.".

Best of luck.

12
level 2

Examples?

2
level 2
Op · 3 mo. ago

Damn. Great input. Apart form that, what would you suggest, for a 3rd Year ECE student, do in the meantime before proceeding with the MA? Eg. Read certain books, philosophers, watch/ listen someone or something? In order to ‘dip my feet in the waters’ of tech ethics?

1
level 1

You can go into a Philosophy MA with your engineering background if you take a lot of phil electives in your final year (assuming you're in a 4 year degree).

I know at least two people who did a BEng undergrad, then an MA in Phil in my Philosophy Department. One is now doing a PhD in Phil at an Ivy.

Career wise, practical ethics is usually the way to go if you want to work in industry (as others have said, tech ethics is big). Another big thing atm is med ethics (esp health care management, public health ethics, etc.) Having a strong understanding of quantitative research methodologies will be extremely useful for this field of work.

Possible alternative career paths would be things like Oxford's MSc in Social Science of the Internet/Oxford Internet Institute and other such venues. These places focus on the ethics of technology/how society interacts with technology. Public Affairs programs would also be good avenues to explore.

3
level 2
Op · 3 mo. ago · edited 3 mo. ago

From your comment alone, I can see I have so much to learn and research on before embarking in this field. Thank you again, kind Stranger.

What would you suggest, for a 3rd Year ECE student to do in the meantime before proceeding with the MA? Eg. Read certain books, philosophers, watch/ listen someone or something?In order to ‘dip my feet in the waters’ of tech ethics?

1

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Created Feb 21, 2011