"My fellow Forbes contributor Patrick Lin has long been involved in these discussions. He's the Director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at Cal Poly and an affiliate scholar at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society. When asked about the current code conundrum, he replied that in order to make progress, two critical things are necessary:
First, people need to understand and appreciate the issues, whether it’s why ethics is important in engineering or why weapon x is bad and needs to be banned. This is primarily about education. Second, a code of ethics, or treaty, needs to have bite or a clear penalty for non-compliance. This is about enforcement. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a direct physical or financial sanction, but even peer pressure can be quite effective. This could mean anything from an industry culture that would not hire or promote an engineer who doesn’t care about ethics, to swift condemnation when a nation breaks with customary international norms."