Rogue One as a story about engineering and design ethics

Spoilers abound so proceed with caution, but Rogue One: an ‘Engineering Ethics’ Story is so very good:

What Galen Erso does is not simply watch a system be built and then whistleblow; he actively shaped the design from its earliest stages considering its ultimate societal impacts. These early design decisions are proactive rather than reactive, which is part of the broader engineering ethics lesson of Rogue One.

The exploration of how Galen didn’t just walk away but took an active role in the destruction of the Death Star is interesting and highly relevant to what I consider an “ethical awakening” in our use of technology. It’s one thing to #DeleteUber — and those campaigns can certainly be effective, in that case to the tune of 500,000 accounts. It’s quite another to “infiltrate” your company and basically sabotage its technology because you believe it’s ethically dubious. The really complicated question is who gets to decide whether or not a company’s “ultimate societal impact” is good or bad. And, of course, who watches the watchers…