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4) Relate the ethics and professionalism of engineering technologist with selected


General definition of ethics is a branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to

human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to
the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions. Specific definition
of ethics in engineering as stated by Department of Philosophy, Chapman University,
One University Drive, USA is the study of engineering ethics tends to emphasize
professional codes of ethics and, to lesser degrees, business ethics and technology
studies. These are all important vantage points, but they neglect personal moral
commitments, as well as personal aesthetic, religious, and other values that are not
mandatory for all members of engineering. Issues that would arise in precision
agriculture or satellite farming are stated as below:

Trespassing and invading privacy

Drones are among of the technology used for precision agriculture for purpose
of precise mapping. This is an ethical dilemma because different people and cultures
will see different uses for drones and each will have a different opinion for what uses
are right or wrong, in their eyes. Drones provide us with many benefits and
opportunities in a wide variety of areas including law enforcement, precision
agriculture, journalism, life guarding, and even mail delivery. However, with these
benefits and opportunities comes the controversial question of whether drone use is
ethically right or wrong. Besides the questionable use of drones overseas for warfare
and destruction, many people in the world are struggling with the idea of invasion of
privacy/trespassing with drones. This is heavily debated in the agriculture world as
well including issues involving trespassing over land, livestock feedlots, and farm sites.

Farmers, livestock producers, and landowners do not want their privacy as well
as their possessions to be invaded or watched by others. They are worried that drone
use would be a violation to their right to property and privacy. However, on the
contrary, many of the same people that are against trespassing and invasion of privacy
with drones also favour drone use for scouting fields, pastures, and other land.
Risk of equipment hacks, data breaches

As Internet-connected equipment is increasingly used in many industry

sectors, alerts like the latest one issued by the authorities to farmers will likely become
a regular occurrence. While precision agriculture technology reduces farming costs
and increases crop yields, farmers need to be aware of and understand the associated
cyber risks to their data and ensure that companies entrusted to manage their data,
including digital management tool and application developers and cloud service
providers, develop adequate cybersecurity and breach response plans.

Authorities believe that cyber attackers might target individuals and entities in
the farming industry to steal farm-level data in bulk (information about soil content,
past crop yields, planting recommendations, etc.) or to destroy it in protest, encrypt
collected data and hold it for ransom (with ransomware) and disrupt food production
and processing (by messing with plants Industrial Control Systems). Historically, the
farming industry has lacked awareness of how their data should be protected from
cyber exploitation, likely reflecting low industry demand for adequate cybersecurity.
In fact, drone manufacturers are focused on offering low pricing structures for farmers
by developing data platforms that are interoperable with legacy systems, a hallmark
of networked devices with poor cybersecurity.

To foil attackers wielding ransomware, the farmers are advised to implement

a robust data back-up and recovery plan, and to keep the back-ups in a separate and
secure location. Additional security tips provided include monitoring employee logins,
using two-factor authentication for employee logins (especially if they are remote
logins) and VPNs, security awareness training for employees, data and traffic
monitoring, closing unused ports on the equipment, and creating a centralized
service/email account where employees can report suspicious emails or other things
5) Conclude why engineers should continue to pay attention to your selected

Engineers have a bigger role to play now that traditional farming methods are
being integrated with technology. There is little doubt that we are at an epoch where
agricultural science and engineering are coming together like never to drive the digital
revolution in agriculture industries. Agricultural engineers play a crucial role in shaping
the whole farming process to focus on driving productivity and profitability, while at
the same time improving safety and sustainability.

Engineers who at one stage may only have been thinking about careers in
aeronautics, infrastructure or mining may now also enjoy the satisfaction of
contributing to feeding the world-a truly worthwhile career. Today, agricultural
engineering reaches far into every activity of agriculture and modernises farming so
that quality food can be produced sufficiently and continuously. There are three key
technology areas in agriculture where engineering is driving major change in
agriculture, namely Sensors, Automation and Structural Designing.

Sensors help agriculture by enabling real-time traceability and diagnosis of

crop, livestock and farm machine states.

Air & soil sensors: Fundamental additions to the automated farm, these
sensors would enable a real time understanding of current farm, forest or body
of water conditions.
Equipment telematics: Allows mechanical devices such as tractors to warn
mechanics that a failure is likely to occur soon. Intra-tractor communication
can be used as a rudimentary farm swarm platform.
Livestock biometrics: Collars with GPS, RFID and biometrics can automatically
identify and relay vital information about the livestock in real time, including
digital fencing.
Crop sensors: Instead of prescribing field fertilization before application, high-
resolution crop sensors inform application equipment of correct amounts
needed. Optical sensors or drones can identify crop health across the field (for
example, by using infra-red light).
Automation will help agriculture via large-scale robotic and microrobots to
check and maintain crops at the plant level.

Variable rate swath control: Building on existing geolocation technologies,

future swath control could save on seed, minerals, fertiliser and herbicides by
reducing overlapping inputs. By pre-computing the shape of the field where
the inputs are to be used, and by understanding the relative productivity of
different areas of the field, tractors or agbots can procedurally apply inputs at
variable rates throughout the field.
Agricultural robots: Also known as agbots, these are used to automate
agricultural processes, such as harvesting, fruit picking, ploughing, soil
maintenance, weeding, planting, irrigation, etc.
Robotic farm swarms: The hypothetical combination of dozens or hundreds of
agricultural robots with thousands of microscopic sensors, which together
would monitor, predict, cultivate and extract crops from the land with
practically no human intervention. Small-scale implementations are already on
the horizon.

Structural designing involves technologies that extend the reach of agriculture

to new means, unfamiliar places and new areas of the economy.

Closed ecological systems: Ecosystems that do not rely on matter exchange

outside the system. Such closed ecosystems would theoretically transform
waste products into oxygen, food and water to support life-forms inhabiting
the system. Such systems already exist in small scales, but existing
technological limitations prevent them from scaling.
Vertical farming: A natural extension of urban agriculture, vertical farms would
cultivate plant or animal life within dedicated or mixed-use skyscrapers in
urban settings. Using techniques like glass houses, vertical farms could
augment natural light using energy-efficient lighting. The advantages are
numerous, including year-round crop production, protection from weather,
support urban food autonomy and reduced transport costs.

1. Drone Laws Impact Media Coverage of Agriculture Industry, by Amy Harwath and
Sam Robinson March 14, 2013

2. FBI Warns of Smart Farm Risk, April 20, 2016

3. The Ethics of Big Data in Big Agriculture, Isabelle M. Carbonell, Film and Digital
Media, University of California, Santa Cruz, United States of America
PUBLISHED ON: 31 Mar 2016 DOI: 10.14763/2016.1.405