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Ethics. What is it, why is it relevant to HCI, why is it important?. What is ethics?. Right and wrong Behaviour ‘absolute’ not conditional Professional issues. Why us?. Technology changes society

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

what is ethics
What is ethics?
  • Right and wrong
  • Behaviour
  • ‘absolute’ not conditional
  • Professional issues
why us
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
why hci people
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
  • 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?
philosophical approaches to ethics
Philosophical approaches to ethics
  • Utilitarianism
    • “greatest happiness of the greatest number”
    • Happiness = sum of pleasure – sum of pain
    • Simple, democratic, forward looking and consequential
problems with utilitarianism
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
and more
And more
  • Hard to measure happiness and compare different happy events
  • No notion of duty or friendship
kantian ethics
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.
kant ii
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.
ethical issues to consider
Ethical issues to consider
  • Data protection/freedom of information
  • (Ethical) hacking
  • Consequences of software errors – who is responsible?
biometric identity cards
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
  • £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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • £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
  • Should we have biometric identity cards?
  • Should you work on them?