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Ethics What is it, why is it relevant to HCI, why is it important?

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Presentation on theme: "Ethics What is it, why is it relevant to HCI, why is it important?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ethics What is it, why is it relevant to HCI, why is it important?

2 What is ethics? Right and wrong Behaviour ‘absolute’ not conditional Professional issues

3 Why us? Technology changes society –Need to understand that change, put it to effective use, understand the consequences of our actions We are often asked to do things that create ethical dilemmas We have powerful tools at our command that we can do significant things with

4 Why HCI people? At the intersection of technology, individuals and society Understand the capabilities of technologies, the needs of individuals, the needs of societies Sometimes in conflict

5 Examples Boss asks us to monitor employees’ email –Legal or illegal –Ethical or unethical Specialist knowledge puts you into major role in consultancy company –Company asked to develop missile offence system for government –Many employees are pacifists –Take the contract, or not?

6 Philosophical approaches to ethics Utilitarianism –“greatest happiness of the greatest number” –Happiness = sum of pleasure – sum of pain –Simple, democratic, forward looking and consequential

7 Problems with utilitarianism Copying software could be argued as good as it spreads more happiness to more people –Yet most would regard it as unethical Punishing an innocent person for a crime may be sanctioned –the deterrent effects may be more beneficial than the problems suffered by the single person

8 And more Hard to measure happiness and compare different happy events No notion of duty or friendship

9 Kantian ethics Deontic (to do with acts) Do your duty The right motive is “ to do the right thing ”, “ to do one ’ s duty ”, “ to respect the moral law. ” A rational being who consistently has the right motive has Good Will. Nothing is more important for morality than having a good will. According to Kant, a rational being with a Good Will automatically does its duty.

10 Kant II Not consequentialist Do duty regardless E.g. Do not lie –Woman comes into your house seeking shelter from a violent partner. Partner comes in and asks if woman is there.

11 Ethical issues to consider Data protection/freedom of information (Ethical) hacking Consequences of software errors – who is responsible?

12 Biometric identity cards Government want to bring in biometric identity cards to cut down crime, stop identity theft, reduce the chances of terrorist attack, reduce illegal immigration and asylum seeking, cut benefit fraud, … So a good thing

13 Facts £1.3 billion: cost of identity theft in UK per year £1.6 million: credit card fraud in UK per day £2 billion: benefit fraud Biometrics uses human physical characteristic to identify the person –Retinal scans –Fingerprint recognition –Face recognition

14 Problems German magazine tested almost every biometric security device available to consumers –Bypassed them all with sellotape, talcum powder, and a photograph 2.3%: falsely identified as terrorist on every flight using facial recognition 10%: failure rate of biometric passports in UK and EU trials

15 Terrorism? Identity theft a big business, with competent computing people in it Will get identities from dead people, emigrated ones, etc. Privacy International: 25 countries suffering from terrorism since 1986, 80% have national i.d. cards, 33% of which have biometric data

16 Fraud? Only £50m of the £2b is identity- related Presence of centralised biometric identity system will give more power to those with expertly forged cards If we trust biometric system then a faked i.d. becomes very powerful

17 Privacy? Privacy issues as well –Notion is that information can be shared by government departments Will the govt always be trustable? –And by private organisations Ads whilst you walk

18 Costs £5.5 billion to set up –And of course that won’t get larger, given it’s a government project £85 for biometric passport, £40 for i.d. card Every 10 years or so Savings to each of us: 83p/year –If works perfectly, doesn’t take any more police time, eliminates all identity crime, doesn’t delay us, doesn’t go over budget

19 Dilemma Should we have biometric identity cards? Should you work on them?


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