Sunday, November 8, 2009

When Butchers perform Surgeries and Nanotechnologists dole out Justice

With the placement season upon us, the campus has been witnessing the usual pre-placement talks by several firms who wish to recruit purely for the reason of a certified intelligence level that has been rated by an examination noted for its rejection rate. However, being a believer in Howard Gartner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, it is quite natural to wonder about the possible consequences of a mismatch.
The consequences might not be that devastating upon hiring engineers to perform financial services (except , probably, an unhealthy dependence on mathematical models that has proven to be fatal in the past). However, imagine a situation where for the mere sake of fulfilling a legal requirement, an on-paper committee is created to handle legal mishaps in, say, an educational institution. While in corporate organizations, it is the Human Resources department that handles such issues, in some consultation with people possessing legal knowledge, academic institutes have been content with asking professors to fill in for such roles. After all, shouldn't they be allowed to enjoy the benefits of the lack of a proper corporate governance structure.
Imagine a situation where an electrical engineering academician is asked to tackle harassment complaints. Not really their fault that human behaviors don't follow the equations that our bright minds are used to. True ,they might have degrees to their credit and have patents and papers published, but often, they have zero knowledge of  psychology, let alone criminal behavior or jurisprudence. Their methods of handling cases that come their way would make even first year law students roll around on the floor laughing. Researching methods on fabricating semiconductor devices does not teach you to validate evidences or cross question testimonies. People should stick to what they know. Not try to perform duties they know naught about. Deciding whether a punitive or preventive action has to be taken can only be done by understanding the case profile and the profile of the accused, something which cant be aided through IEEE.  I mean, come on, I have a friend who has  basic medical knowledge, despite her automotive engineering education, she can even tell you the required medication in case of common illnesses, but she doesn't go about performing surgical oncology procedures. Its an even bigger mess when the persons handling the wrong job, by virtue of being experts at their actual job, have a pretty high opinion of their intellect, which causes them to accept what they see and renders them incapable of accepting that there can be more to a situation than is meeting the eye. What they don't understand is that their clumsiness coupled with apathy can harm a  life, damage a life, wreck a life, or even take a life. When they don't have the skill, they most certainly should not have the right to mess around with people's lives. Because while those lives involved might mean nothing to our high-bred academicians, they do to others.