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Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic Department of Computer Science and Engineering Mälardalen University 2007

PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING CDT409 GAME ETHICS. Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic Department of Computer Science and Engineering Mälardalen University 2007. Video Game Violence Ethical Issues. Based on : Kim Anttila & Thomas Larsson’s materials. Overview.

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Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic Department of Computer Science and Engineering Mälardalen University 2007

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  1. PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING CDT409 GAME ETHICS Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic Department of Computer Science and EngineeringMälardalen University2007

  2. Video Game ViolenceEthical Issues Based on:Kim Anttila & Thomas Larsson’s materials

  3. Overview • An increasingly popular leisure activity • Examples of game violence • Research results on game violence • Effects on individuals and society • Ethical principles • Whose responsibility? Family, society, game industry • Conclusions

  4. An Increasingly Popular Leisure Activity • In the U. S. the average 2 – 17 year old child play video games 7 hours a week. • Games in general can of course be beneficial. E.g. games can teach problem solving skills, and even be used as a tool in medical rehabilitation and habilitation.We will only discuss violent video games!!! • Highly violent games are frequently found among the top 10 best-selling games

  5. Game Violence Examples • Highly violent titles arrived in the 1990s • E.g. Mortal Kombat (1993), Streetfighter, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom • A recent example is Grand Theft Auto (GTA) III • The game glorifies violence and crime and it degrades women. Activities include running over bystanders, driving prostitutes around town, beating people up, killing people, setting bombs, bribing the police. You can have sex with a prostitute and then kill her to get extra scores.

  6. Game Violence Examples • In Washington state, a law bill has been signed to ban sales of e.g. GTA III to minors (anyone under 17). “GTA III is a game so suffused with sadism that its considerable technical attributes are lost in a nihilistic realm that thumbs its nose at any sense of propriety or responsibility” -- LA Times

  7. Research on Game Violence The body of research on the effects of exposure to violent video games is relatively limited: • There seems to exist about 30 published studies. • A majority of them indicate a significant a positive correlation between violent video gaming and aggressive behavior. • Due to some methodological shortcomings, however, particularly in early studies, some people denies these results. • More research is needed.

  8. Research on Game Violence In any case, the research literature on the effects of exposure to TV violence is huge and conclusive • There is a link between early exposure to TV violence and real world acts of violence. • This research suggest that exposure to game violence results in the same consequences, or even worse consequences, because of the active learning nature of video games.

  9. Research Results Suggest.. Short term effects • Exposure to video game violence increases aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior. • Violent video games tend to decrease pro-social behavior.

  10. Research Results Suggest.. Long term effects • Involve learning processes which develop knowledge structures, e.g., perception, interpretation, judgment and action • Subjects may be desensitized to violence, see the world as a more hostile place, and have a tendency to respond to conflict with aggression (aggressive personality) • Violent video games teach violent behavioral scripts, which may become easily accessible in real world situations.

  11. Research Findings • Exposure to violent TV causes increases in aggression and violence and the effects are not small! • Regardless of whether the research method has been experimental studies, cross-correlation studies, or longitudinal studies the results are that exposure to media violence increases aggression.

  12. Research Findings A consensus among experts: “the data point overwhelmingly to causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children” in a joint statement by the following six professional societies: American Psychology Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Psychiatric Association

  13. The Ethics of E-Games: IRIE Issue No 004Vol. 4 - December 2005 The Ethics of E-Games Elizabeth A. Buchanan and Charles Ess E-games cause "moral panics" among parents and politicians. E-games deserve serious analysis in part because of their philosophical interest as they raise questions of ontology, epistemology, human nature, the character of "game-play" - and ethics.

  14. The Ethics of E-Games:IRIE Issue No 004Vol. 4 - December 2005 Rule Sets, Cheating, and Magic Circles: Studying Games and Ethics, Mia Consalvo Game, Player, Ethics: A Virtue Ethics Approach to Computer Games, Miguel Sicart Game Ethics - Homo Ludens as a Computer Game Designer and Consumer, Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic and Thomas Larsson Playing with Race: The Ethics of Racialized Representations in E-Games Dean Chan The Ethical Significance of Cheating in Online Computer Games K. K. Kimppa and A. K.Bissett Electronic Gaming and the Ethics of Information Ownership Dan L. Burk Social context in Massively-Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs): Ethical questions in shared space, Dorothy E. Warner and Mike Raiter The Differences of Addiction Causes between Massive Multiplayer Online Game and Multi User Domainby Jengchung V. Chen and Yangil Park

  15. Effects on Society Media violence contribute to a more violent society • The extremely high aggravated assault rates in our societies depends on many factors • What’s the actual cost of video game violence? • Suppose game violence can be blamed for some murders. How many do you think is acceptable?

  16. Effects on Society Economical impact • A value added to the economy? • What would happen to the market size without highly violent games? (According to ESA, 16 of the top 20 best-selling games where rated E for everyone) What does the prevalent fascination by violence as entertainment say about our society?

  17. Fundamental Ethical Principles • Human life • Care for children • Trust among people

  18. Ethical Principles Relevant for the Debate The right to free speech • Free speech legislations • E.g. First Amendment Convention on the Rights of the Child http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm • Children’s right to healthy development Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  19. Relevant Ethical Principles ACM codes of ethics for computer professionals • Contribute to society and well being • Avoid harm to others • Ensure that users and those who will be affected by a system have their needs clearly articulated during the assessment and design of requirements

  20. UNESCOCulture of Peace "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed". The UNESCO Culture of Peace Program ("CPP") encourages a caring society that protects the rights of those who are weak, such as children, the handicapped, the elderly and the socially disadvantaged. The full participation and empowerment of women is essential to the development of a culture of peace. It was the monopolization of warfare by men that led to the exclusion of women from power. But women's skills of exchange, co-operation and solidarity, as well as their experience of giving birth, bringing up the next generation and managing informal economies, are all essential to the evolution of a culture of peace ... Women, in all societies the transmitters of the history, customs and traditions of their people, are the key to the development of a culture of peace, which cannot be superimposed upon society, but must evolve.

  21. Family's Responsibility The UN “Convention on the Rights of the Child” recognizes some fundamental principles that most of the member nations has agreed up on: …that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance, Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community.

  22. Society's Responsibility The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups

  23. Game Industry’s Standpoint • Defends their constitutional right to free speech, in all its various forms, which includes the right to produce whatever games they like (they can sell) • Parents have the right to make choices freely about what is best for their children • No harmful effects have been proven • Accepts game rating through their own organization Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)

  24. What to Do? • TV violence increases aggressive behavior (”desensibilisation”) • Violent games are likely to have even more effect because of ”reinforcement learning” • How about the argument that human basically is an agressive animal, that have a need to work off its anger one way or the other, and if so, then it is best to take it out on a computer in virtual fight then on real people? • ”Conditioning” of soldiers by violent video games, empathy and habit • Media violence is imitating military conditioning, but without the vital safeguard of discipline. • What about socially sanctioned violence?

  25. CONCLUSIONS • What can we conclude? • About the importance of ethics for professionals? • About our professional responsibility for other peoples well-being? • About future development?

  26. References • Basic material: • MORAL PHILOSOPHY THROUGH THE AGES, James Fieser, Mayfield Publishing Company, 2001 • Craig A. Anderson and Brad J. Bushman, The effects of Media Violence on Society, Science, Vol. 295, pages 2377-2378, 29 March 2002. • http://www.killology.com/art_beh_conditioning.htm Conditioning Kids To Kill • ETHICS AND COMPUTING, Living Responsibly in a Computerized World, Kevin W. Bowyer Editor, IEEE Press 2000 • http://ethics.acusd.edu/presentations/Hinman/theory/relativism/ • http://ethics.acusd.edu/socialethics/ • Additional resources: • http://www.i-r-i-e.net/issue4.htm International Journal of Information Ethics, Special Issue on The Ethics of E-Games, Vol. 4 - December 2005 • http://www.phil.gu.se/munthe/ethicsLinks Internet-sites dealing with ethics • http://www.engr.csulb.edu/~jewett/social/ Social Issues of Computing • http://courses.cs.vt.edu/~cs3604/lib/WorldCodes/WorldCodes.html Codes of Conduct/Practice/Ethics from Around the World • http://ethics.acusd.edu/relativism.html • http://www.ethics.ubc.ca/resources/professional/ Professional Ethics Resources

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