“ 4. The Critical Engineer looks beyond the “awe of implementation” to determine methods of influence and their specific effects.”
To me this means: Making something new is not enough. It is not enough to use computation and engineering in a impressive way if the impressive element is the fact that it works. It is not enough to take advantage of a naive audience and impress with the lowest level of criticality, while relying on the novelty of futuristic technology. Aiming for only the “wow” factor of a working prototype is not a sustainable practice and does not reflect the work of a critical engineer. A critical engineer is not looking for the short term glory of something that is impressive because it works. Instead a critical engineer looks past the short term and uses their ability to ask questions and make things with a purpose, not just becasue they can. This purpose is to think about the tools they are using in the context of the world, and more specifically in the context of their interests. Only by employing this kind of critical thinking can a critical engineer determine the way they want to influence others with their work, and learn from their work. Determining methods of influence and their effects requires a hypothesis and goal that can be evaluated after the completion of the work. This evaluation will be complex, where as the evaluation of a project that relies on the “awe of implementation” a binary question; does it work?