Engineers design, build and maintain systems that deliver capabilities. Society and individuals are usually not interested in the system just the capability, unless the system is particular aesthetic or advertising creates the need to own something, i.e. the system becomes a fashion accessory. Consumers are usually more interested in the reliability and life expectancy of the system, or in other words, they would like the absolute certainty that the capability will be available whenever and for as long as it is required. This expectation is problematic for engineers because nothing is certain and entropic degradation ensures nothing remains the same forever. Creative thinking is needed to generate elegant solutions that are cheaper than those of your competitors and this should ensure that engineers are never replaced by artificial intelligence [see my post entitled ‘Engineers are slow, error-prone…‘ on April 29th, 2015]. Engineering might not be a job for life, because nothing is certain, but a bright future, at least until consumers become post-modernists with a tolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity.
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