Ethics in the Management of Emerging Technologies

This initiative addresses the challenges of managing the uncharted ethical and moral dilemmas that spring directly from emerging technologies.

The Rensselaer Lally School of Management has consistently focused on the management of technology in its scholarship, educational programs, and outreach. This focus provides the School a distinctive niche and connects naturally to the technological roots of the Institute. The commercialization of new technologies is a perennial high priority for R&D-intensive companies. Ethical dilemmas that arise are a neglected area of scholarship and education. Therefore, the Lally School has created an initiative for research and education in this exciting and crucially important area.


Our ethics initiative takes into account that:
  • Companies that increase scientific and business capabilities in areas like genomics and big data generate ethical questions that humans have never before had to ask. 
  • A definitional characteristic of new technologies is that they arrive before society has had a chance to consider their ethical implications and institute laws to protect those who may be vulnerable. 
  • Most managers’ technical knowledge far outpaces their ability to engage in informed ethical questioning and debate.
  • These managers are often thrust into an ambiguous realm without any training in thinking through – or even thinking about – the ethical implications of new products.
  • Even for companies interested in “doing the right thing,” there is no social consensus as to what “the right thing” is.


Our efforts thus far have included panels of industry executives and medical ethicists as well as initial discussions among Lally faculty and faculty in other schools on campus. 
Building on these efforts, our exciting future plans include:
  • Ethics-based content in Lally School courses
  • White papers on the ethics of emerging technologies 
  • Grants to aid faculty in developing ethics-based teaching materials and research projects
  • Public forums that spur discussion of important ethical questions, including an annual conference 
  • Hosting visiting faculty experts in ethics
  • Highlighting ethics-based student projects and research


Gina O'Connor, associate dean for academic affairs and professor, Lally School of Management

Garrett McCarey, production specialist


Past Events:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018: "Ethics and the Internet of Things (IoT): Will the Internet of Things Empower or Destroy?" - Watch the Event Video Here
The Internet of Things (IoT) will usher in a highly interconnected world of devices, people, and autonomous systems with
  • Transformational power to improve business, communication, and personal well-being
  • Tremendous potential for “smart” appliances and services
  • New data-driven ways to create personalization, effectiveness and convenience
The IoT also presents unprecedented privacy, security, and safety challenges. How should companies, government and citizens address these concerns? How will the IoT affect you? Come and join the conversation.
November 28, 2017: "Playing God: A conversation with Rensselaer faculty about the science, applications and ethics about the CRISPR CAS-9 Gene Editing" - Watch the Event Video Here
The first event in the Dr. Lois S. Peters Lecture Series, “The Ethics of Managing Emerging Technologies,” was held this past fall. The panel was co-hosted by the Rensselaer School of Science and the Lally School of Management. The event focused on how scientific advances in the editing of the human germline are progressing rapidly and discussed the consequences and ethical issues of this scientific advancement. 



We would like to encourage ongoing discussion among students, staff, faculty, and members of the community. Below is a list of discussions that we encourage you to join. Click on the link and create an account to begin participating.