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


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. 



The Masters’ Scholars Research Program (MSRP) is a voluntary program that allows students to collaborate with faculty on research and gain experience in the commercialization of advanced technology. One of the opportunities within this program includes investigating current issues and creating new research questions for faculty to study. Three Lally master’s degree students chose technologies they were interested in or concerned about from an ethical standpoint and wrote cases and research questions for those topics.

PDF icon Chatbots

PDF icon Automated Warehouses

PDF icon Facial Recognition

PDF icon Gene Editing 

PDF icon Smart Wearables 

Meet The Authors:

Peter Kloss is a recent graduate of the technology commercialization and entrepreneurship master's program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  His background includes a bachelor’s degree in computer science and cyber security consulting experience.  He currently oversees operations and strategy as chief operating officer for IPPSec, a cyber security startup company.

Han Gao is an entrepreneurial innovator in the AI industry. He will graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a master’s degree in technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in December 2018. Prior to the master’s program, he received a bachelor’s degree in human resource management. His areas of interest include drone application and automated logistics.

Lei Zou was born and brought up in China. He came to America when he was 15 years old. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California, Irvine, and is currently enrolled in the quantitative finance and risk analysis master’s program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


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.