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Computer Ethics? In today’s world we have created a whole new set of “ethical dilemmas” Within the last two decades we have seen an explosion of such things.

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Presentation on theme: "Computer Ethics? In today’s world we have created a whole new set of “ethical dilemmas” Within the last two decades we have seen an explosion of such things."— Presentation transcript:

1 Computer Ethics? In today’s world we have created a whole new set of “ethical dilemmas” Within the last two decades we have seen an explosion of such things as the internet, e-commerce, security and wireless technologies

2 How Do We Apply Ethics Joseph Weizenbaum, computer scientist at MIT wrote of “two cultures of the computer age” – those who will benefit from the technology and those doing more menial and irrelevant roles Do knowledge and information translate into power?

3 Issues in Ethics in Computing Four categories –Computer technology may aggravate certain traditional ethical problems (such as new ways to invade privacy) –Technology may transform familiar ethical problems into “analogous but unfamiliar ones” (such as ownership of originals)

4 Issues Continued –Technology may create new problems that are unique to the computing realm (computers making battlefield decisions) –Technology may relieve existing moral problems (not nearly as likely)

5 Definition James H. Moor defined computer ethics as “the analysis of the nature and social impact of computer technology and the corresponding formulation and justification of policies for the ethical use of such technology (Moor, 1985)

6 Three Parts of Ethics Theory of good and evil – a metaphysical inquiry into what they are, and whether and in what sense they made be said to exist Theory of right and wrong – an epistemological inquiry concerned with our judgments and certain actions are right or wrong, and how such value is determined

7 Parts continued The theory of virtue and vice – an inquiry into the conditions under which we assign praise or blame. It includes moral education, the theory of punishment, and certain aspects of the theory of distributive justice (Butchvarov, 1989)

8 Moral Decisions A moral decision is one that will affect others or yourself (also other things or the environment)

9 5 approaches to ethical decision making Make your decision based on your emotions, how you feel Avoidance –The undecided –The gambler (leave to fate) –Lazy, irrational coin-tosser –Rational coin-tosser

10 5 continued Pass the buck –Find a scapegoat Blame it all on your parents Blame it on your teachers Blame it on your friend or on the Devil Blame it on your source –Go by the “book” – always go with precedent or authority Blame it on your boss Blame the law Fight battles by the book Appeal to the authority

11 5 continued Follow the crowd –Do what everyone else is doing Base the decision on caring, sympathy or maternal love –This is the emotional response Find a rational criterion on which to base the decision –How can we solve a problem using logic?

12 Seven questions for making an ethical decision. 1. Is it honorable? There should be not one from whom you would like to hide the actin. 2.Is it honest? It does not violate any agreement, actual or implied, or otherwise betray a trust. 3.Does it avoid the possibility of a conflict of interest? There are not other considerations that might bias your judgment.

13 4.Is it within your area of competence? Your best effort will be adequate. 5.Is it fair? It is not detrimental to the legitimate interests of others. 6.Is is considerate? It does not violate confidentiality or privacy, or otherwise harm anyone or anything. 7.Is it conservative? It does not necessarily squander time or other valuable resources.

14 Views of Reason Ancient View of Reason –Reason does calculate and compare –Can discover fundamental principles by which we can guide our lives, our judgments, and our actions Plato taught we should aspire to seek Truth itself, Beauty itself, and Good itself

15 Views continued Aristotle believed that there are two kinds of intuitive reason whereby we discover truth –One through perception or observation can we discover truth about things (ground for science) –We discover the first principles about relations among unchanging entities (reason can tell us where we are going and how to get there)

16 Views continued Modern View of Reason –Reason is a calculating device that works in helping you satisfy your passions and desires – your emotions tell you what you want, and reason figures out how to get it for you –Freud believed that the personality is composed of 3 systems (id, ego, superego)

17 Views continued Id is developed in infancy – acting on the pleasure principle Ego is the executive branch that is created from the psychic energy of the id, but since the id can’t interact with external world, the ego acts on its behalf – acts on the reality principle Superego consists of the ego ideal – goals that the parent’s held to be “good” and the conscience that which is “bad” – consists of the moral code

18 Solving Ethical Dilemmas We can use Emotion OR We can use a rational/logical structured approach Two methods to use –Paramedic Method –4-Step Method

19 PARAMEDIC ETHICS (DRAWS ONLY ON SOCIAL CONTRACT, DEONOTOLIGICAL ETHICS, AND UTILITARIAN) 1. GATHERING DATA A. DETERMINE ALTERNATIVES B. DETERMINE PARTIES INVOLVED C. DETERMINE RELATIONS AMONG PARTIES 2. ANALYZING DATA A. HOW ALTERNATIVES AFFECT PARTIES B. ESTABLISH OPPORTUNITIES & VULNERABILITIES

20 3. NEGOTIATE AN AGREEMENT A. APPLY SOCIAL ETHICS TO EACH ALTERNATIVE B. COME TO CONSENSUS AGREEMENT 4. JUDGING DATA A. APPLY DEONTONLOGICAL ETHICS B. APPLY UTILITARIAN ETHICS C. MAKE A FINAL DECISION

21 Another Method for Solving an Ethical Dilemmas On the next pages is an alternative method (from the paramedic method) of solving an ethical dilemma

22 A Four Step Analysis Process STEP I Analyze the situation. What is the subject of this case? What is it all about? A.What are the relevant facts? B.Who are the stakeholders - - that is, who has an interest, or stake, in the outcome?

23 A FOUR STEP ANALYSIS PROCESS STEP IIMake a defensible ethical decision. A.Isolate the ethical issues. 1. Should someone have done or not done something? 2. Does it matter that…? (reasons and excuses) B.Examine the legal issues.

24 STEP IIIDescribe steps to resolve the current situation A.What are the options at this time? B.Which option(s) do you recommend? C.Defend the legality and ethicality of your recommendation.

25 A FOUR STEP ANALYSIS PROCESS STEP IVPrepare policies and strategies to prevent recurrence. A.What organizational, political, legal, technological, or societal changes are needed?

26 Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics The Computer Ethics Institute, a nonprofit research, education and study organization proposes the following voluntary code of conduct for all users of computer technology and digital electronic data systems. 1.Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people. 2.Thou shalt not interfere with other’s computer work. 3.Thou shalt not snoop around in other’s computer files. 4.Thou shalt not use a computer to steal. 5.Thou shalt not use a computer to bear false witness. 6.Thou shalt not use someone else’s computer resources without authorization or proper compensation. 7.Thou shalt not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid. 8.Thou shalt not appropriate other people’s intellectual output. 9.Thou shalt think about the social consequences of the program you are writing or the system you are designing. 10.Thou shalt always use a computer in ways that ensure consideration and respect for your fellow human.


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