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ETHICS. Fundamentals & Basic Concepts. Ethics. What is Ethics?? Study of what it means to “do the right thing” Assumes people are rational and make free choices Rules to follow in our interactions and our actions that affect others.

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ethics

ETHICS

Fundamentals & Basic Concepts

ethics1
Ethics

What is Ethics??

  • Study of what it means to “do the right thing”
  • Assumes people are rational and make free choices
  • Rules to follow in our interactions and our actions that affect others
the emergence of the social and ethical problems in computing
The Emergence of the Social and Ethical Problems in Computing
  • The Emergence of Computer Crimes
    • The known history of computer crimes is not as old as computing is.
    • One can perhaps say that the history of computer crimes started with the invention of the computer virus.
    • The term virus is derived from a Latin word virus which means poison. For generations, even before the birth of modern medicine, the term had remained mostly in medical circles, meaning a foreign agent injecting itself in a living body, feeding on it to grow and multiply.
    • A computer virus, defined as a self-propagating computer program designed to alter or destroy a computer system resource, follows almost the same pattern but instead of using the living body, it uses software to attach itself, grow, reproduce and spread in the new environment.
the emergence of the social and ethical problems in computing cont
The Emergence of the Social and Ethical Problems in Computing (cont.)
  • As it spreads in the new environment, it attacks major system resources that include the surrogate software itself, data, and sometimes hardware weakening the capacity of these resources to perform the needed functions and eventually bringing the system down.
  • The word virus was first assigned a non-biological meaning in the 1972 in fiction (“When Harly was One” by David Gerrod ). The term was first used to describe a piece of unwanted computer code.
  • Later association of the term with a real world computer program was done by Fred Cohen, then a graduate student at the University of Southern California.
the emergence of the social and ethical problems in computing cont1
The Emergence of the Social and Ethical Problems in Computing (cont.)
  • Cohenfirst presented his ideas to a graduate seminar class in information security in 1983. His seminar advisor, Len Adleman, was the first to assign the term "virus" to Cohen\'s concept.
  • As part of these experiments, Cohen wrote five programs, actually viruses, to run on a VAX 11/750 running Unix, not to alter or destroy any computer resources but for class demonstration. During the demonstration, each virus obtained full control of the system within an hour .
  • From that simple beginning, computer viruses, and hence computer crimes have been on the rise .
the case for computer ethics education
The Case for Computer Ethics Education
  • James H. Moor is a Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy.
  • Moor\'s 1985 paper entitled "What is Computer Ethics?" established him as one of the pioneering theoreticians in the field of computer ethics.
  • What is Computer Ethics ???
    • According to James H. Moore, who is believed to have first coined the phrase "computer ethics", computer ethics is 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 .
    • Moore\'s definition focuses on the human actions that are routed in computer technology or influenced by computer technology.
why you should study computer ethics
Why You Should Study Computer Ethics?
  • Moore’s contention is that the central task of computer ethics, in decision making processes that involve computer technology, should be to “determine what should be done” whenever there is a policy vacuum.
  • policy vacuum is presented by lack of clear ethical guidelines which dictating the use of computers and associated technology
  • It is difficult to fully explain the cause of these vacuums, but one can say that they are mainly caused by the ‘confusion’ between the known policies and what is presented.
why you should study computer ethics cont
Why You Should Study Computer Ethics? (cont.)
  • So naturally one would come to a conclusion that since we cannot stop computer technology which causes different muddles, we need a plan of action that will work with the changing computing technology and at the same time deal with the ethical issues that do arise. We need computer ethics education.
why you should study computer ethics cont1
Why You Should Study Computer Ethics? (cont.)

In his paper “Is Computer Ethics Unique?”, Walter Manerexplains the existence of the two schools with two views that:

  • (i) Certain ethical issues are so transformed by the use of computers that they deserve to be studied on their own, in their radically altered form.
  • (ii) The involvement of computers in human conduct can create entirely new ethical issues, unique to computing, that do not surface in other areas.
why you should study computer ethics cont2
Why You Should Study Computer Ethics? (cont.)

According to Maner there are six levels of justifications for the two views :

  • We should study computer ethics because doing so will make us behave like responsible professionals.
  • We should study computer ethics because doing so will teach us how to avoid computer abuse and catastrophes.
  • We should study computer ethics because the advance of computing technology will continue to create temporary policy vacuums.
why you should study computer ethics cont3
Why You Should Study Computer Ethics? (cont.)
    • We should study computer ethics because the use of computing permanently transforms certain ethical issues to the degree that their alterations require independent study.
    • We should study computer ethics because the use of computing technology creates, and will continue to create, novel ethical issues that require special study.
    • We should study computer ethics because the set of novel and transformed issues is large enough and coherent enough to define a new field.
  • Whatever school one falls in, there is enough justification to study computer ethics.
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