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Social and Economic Impacts of IT Professor Matt Thatcher Today Who am I? Introduction to IT issues and problems Course overview and organization syllabus schedule assignments Course website http://faculty.unlv.edu/thatcher/mis748 Frameworks for ethical analysis

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Social and Economic Impacts of IT

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Social and Economic Impacts of IT

Professor Matt Thatcher


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Today

  • Who am I?

  • Introduction to IT issues and problems

  • Course overview and organization

    • syllabus

    • schedule

    • assignments

  • Course website

    • http://faculty.unlv.edu/thatcher/mis748

  • Frameworks for ethical analysis

  • Get your email addresses and pictures


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Who am I?

  • Associate Professor of MIS

  • The Wharton School, University of Penn

    • Ph.D and M.S. in Information Technology / Economics

    • B.S. in Finance and Decision Sciences

  • Research interests

    • economic impact of IT on firms/industry

    • IT value

    • software patent policy design

    • It offshoring

  • Course information

    • http://faculty.unlv.edu/thatcher/mis748

    • matt.thatcher@unlv.edu


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What Are the Benefits of IT?

  • Computer games

  • Digital technologies (movies, tv, music, library retrieval)

  • Business applications

  • Internet

  • Automobiles and trucks

  • Education and training

  • Crime fighting

  • Health and medicine

  • Tools for the disabled


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What are the Problems, Risks, and Controversies with IT?

  • Information Privacy

    • consumer privacy vs. access to information

    • workplace privacy vs. access to information

    • civil liberties vs. law enforcement

  • Freedom of speech vs. control of content on the internet

  • Intellectual property rights

  • Computer security and computer crimes

  • IT safety and reliability vs. fast market entry


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How Do We Examine These IT Issues?

  • What?

    • what is the description of what is happening? What new technology is being implemented in what context?

  • So what?

    • what are the benefits of the IT and the concerns and problems introduced by the IT? What are the different perspectives in the context?

  • Now what?

    • what are the potential solutions to the problem?


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ATMs:A Simple Example

  • What are the benefits of ATMs?

  • What are the negative aspects of ATMs?

    • unemployment

    • lower levels of customer service

    • crime

    • loss of privacy

    • errors

  • Does this mean that ATMs are bad?

  • How can we manage and minimize the problems? What are some solutions?


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Other Examples


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Course Administration

  • Course website

    • http://faculty.unlv.edu/thatcher/mis748

    • course materials, notes, announcements, etc.

  • Course goal

    • learn about the social, economic, ethical, and legal issues generated by the use of computers and computer networks, including the Internet.

    • I want you to be able to see, express, and discuss different perspectives of controversial and complex issues related to IT.

  • Teaching style

    • lectures

    • case studies (every class)

    • interactive, in-class assignments and discussions

    • student presentations


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Administrivia - Class Structure

  • Registration

    • everyone registered?

  • Syllabus

    • look over very carefully

  • Readings

    • required book

    • downloadable documents

  • Schedule

    • this is the most important resource for class


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Administrivia - Class Structure

  • Grading

    • Exams (2) 30%

    • Term Paper15%

    • Presentation 5%

    • Case Reports (6)30%

    • Participation15%

    • Attendance 5%

  • Regarding missed exams

  • Honor code


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Frameworks for Ethical Analysis

Professor Matt Thatcher


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Ethical Frameworks

  • Teleological

    • ends/outcome

    • gives priority to the good of society in general over the rights of individuals

    • the right action is that which produces the most net benefit to society (or optimizes social welfare)

    • the right action depends on the outcome or consequence

    • no intrinsically evil acts

  • Deontological

    • means/process

    • gives priority to the rights of individuals or obligation of duty over the good of society in general

    • the right action is independent of the outcome or consequence

    • actions are intrinsically wrong or right based on duty or rights


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Ethical Frameworks

  • Teleological

    • end (utility, happiness,…..)

    • utilitarianism

      • maximize social utility (not just individual utility)

      • moral calculus

      • how do you measure happiness, benefits, costs?

        • automobile example

      • how do you avoid self-serving assumptions and biases?

        • Lockheed (American aerospace company)

      • long-run vs. short-run

    • how can it go wrong?


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Ethical Frameworks

  • Deontological

    • duty based

      • Immanuael Kant

        • Kant’s categorical imperative -- “ I should never act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law.”

      • Universal Acceptability

        • would disinterested and affected parties agree

        • publicity test

      • moral law = respect for other human beings

    • rights based

      • human or legal rights (free speech, privacy, property rights)

    • what are moral rights or duties? What happens if two moral duties or rights conflict?


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Steps for Ethical Analysis(Case Reports)

  • Identify the “ethical dilemma (or question)” in the case.

    • pose an open-ended question that generated many potential answers, not one that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”.

  • Discuss the role that information technology played in creating the special circumstances of the case.

  • List the stakeholders in the case.

    • clearly state a right or duty of each stakeholder.

  • List and describe alternative courses of action that may be taken and determine the likely consequences of each proposed action for each stakeholder.

    • list and describe at least four (4) alternative course of action.

  • Analyze the case from a teleological perspective.

    • Make sure to explain!!!!! Think about a cost/benefit analysis.

  • Analyze this case from a deontological perspective.

    • Make sure to explain!!!!! If there are competing rights which rights have priority and why?

  • Describe your normative recommendation in this case (what actions would you recommend – law, norms, market forces, technology). What is the basis of your recommendation (teleological or deontological)?

    • This is worth the most points. Do not cut this discussion short!


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Types of Solutions to Consider

  • Law

    • copyrights, patents, trademarks, privacy laws

  • Industry norms (self-regulation)

    • Common Industry Formats (CIFs)

    • third-party enforcement programs such as privacy seal programs

  • Market forces

    • consumer awareness and action and competition

    • management solutions (corporate privacy policies)

  • Technology solutions

    • cookies, anonymizers, filtering software, encryption, digital rights management systems


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Next Time

  • Read through the materials provided on the course website.

  • Read the “Capital One” case and complete the “Short Essay” assignment for next class

    • note that “Short Essays” have different requirements than “Case Reports”

  • Purchase the book required for this course from the UNLV Bookstore (phone: 736-3955)

    • Spinello, Richard A. Case Studies in Information Technology Ethics (2nd Edition). Prentice-Hall, Inc., 2003.


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