In what way does the online domain shape our (moral) practices in it? Since the introduction of the consumer internet, this question has quickly. PDF | 3+ hours read | Computing technologies and artifacts are increasingly integrated into most aspects of our professional, social, and private. property rights, privacy, free speech and professional ethics. Is computer ethics different to those that came before. Partially, the answer is no since all fields have .

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    Computer Ethics Pdf

    The Cambridge Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics that only display certain files (e.g. pdf files) whose legitimate origin has been ascertained. In particular, I want to characterize computer ethics and show why this emerging On my view, computer ethics is the analysis of the nature and social impact. In the s and early s, the field of study that is now called “computer ethics” was given a solid foundation by Professor Norbert Wiener of MIT. Unhappily.

    Luciano Floridi. This page intentionally left blank The Cambridge Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics Information and Communication Technologies ICTs have profoundly changed many aspects of life, including the nature of entertainment, work, communication, education, health care, industrial production and business, social relations and conflicts. They have had a radical and widespread impact on our moral lives and hence on contemporary ethical debates. The Cambridge Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics provides an ambitious and authoritative introduction to the field, with discussions of a range of topics including privacy, ownership, freedom of speech, responsibility, technological determinism, the digital divide, cyber warfare and online pornography. It offers an accessible and thoughtful survey of the transformations brought about by ICTs and their implications for the future of human life and society, for the evaluation of behaviour, and for the evolution of moral values and rights. It will be a valuable book for all who are interested in the ethical aspects of the information society in which we live. His publications include Philosophy and Computing: Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published in print format ISBN eBook NetLibrary ISBN Hardback ISBN Paperback Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate. Tavani Epilogue:

    This chapter provides a general introduction to the field, its origins and scope. This chapter outlines the development of the field, starting with the work of Norbert Wiener and the computer revolution in the fifties. The historical perspective is not only scholarly interesting but also important to introduce and contextualize the development of the philosophical problems discussed in the following chapters. Part II Ethical approaches Still moving towards the specific issues investigated by computer ethics, the three chapters in this section introduce the ethical theories and methodologies commonly used in the area.

    Chapter 3 Values in technology and disclosive computer ethics, Philip Brey Keywords: The chapter introduces disclosive computer ethics, one of the new approaches that has been developed within the field.

    Disclosive computer ethics is independent of the usual approaches in normative ethics. It shows how one of the important tasks of computer ethics is to uncover values and moral decisions embedded in ICT artefacts and practices. The chapter also covers recent investigations into design procedures and their ethics. Chapter 4 The use of normative theories in computer ethics, Jeroen van den Hoven Keywords: The chapter analyses how standard ethical positions, especially Virtue Ethics, Deontologism and Consequentialism, and their methodologies have been used and adapted in order to deal with issues arising in computer ethics.

    Topics discussed here comprise whether any particular approach is more amenable to application to computer-related ethical issues; which values and normative xii Preface guidelines have been more successful among professionals; what sort of ICT moral issues, if any, may not be subject to an ethical analysis in terms of the old paradigms and may require radical innovations; how ethics may help to approach, formulate and solve ICT moral problems.

    Chapter 5 Information ethics, Luciano Floridi Keywords: Since the nineties, a new approach to computer ethics, known as information ethics, has been developed by several researchers and especially by the IEG Information Ethics Group in Oxford.

    Information ethics may be briefly described as an extension of environmental ethics to artificial contexts cyberspace, or more generally the so-called infosphere inhabited by artificial agents. This chapter outlines the nature and scope of information ethics, some of the difficulties it faces in its application to practical issues in computer ethics, and the criticisms that have been brought against it.

    Part III Ethical issues in the information society This section is dedicated to specific topics and problems, in ICE, characterizing social and individual life in the information society.

    These are organized by dividing them into standard thematic areas and hence six chapters. The computer revolution, by de-materializing artefacts, products and services and transforming them in strings and streams of digits, has profoundly affected concepts such as ownership, intellectual property, copyright, fair sharing and use, as well as voluntary collaboration and open source software. This chapter discusses some of the classic problems arising in these contexts.

    Chapter 7 Rights and computer ethics, John Sullins Keywords: The information society is built on information and communication technologies. Precisely because the exchange of data and information is so facilitated, some problems that have affected individuals in the past acquire macroscopic dimensions.

    The chapter discusses the classic issue of how freedom of speech and its potential abuse especially pornography and politically, socially or religiously discriminating contents may be xiii Preface ethically regulated. Chapter 8 Conflict, security and computer ethics, John Arquilla Keywords: Information has always played a crucial role in warfare and in national security issues. Naturally, information warfare — namely the use and management of information resources in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent — has followed the development both of information technologies and of society.

    The more advanced the former are, and the closer the latter is to being an information society, the more important information warfare and security become.

    Society has been using ICT not only to develop but also to defend itself from internal and external threats terrorism and war. How is this changing the nature of security and conflicts?

    What are the ethical issues involved? This chapter deals with these fundamental questions by discussing, among others, topics such as the collection of tactical information, the reliability of vital information and their sources, and the spreading of propaganda or disinformation among the enemy.

    Chapter 9 Personal values and computer ethics, Alison Adam Keywords: The cyborg, post-humanist debate has expanded our understanding of the moral questions posed in contexts where individuals have so much more freedom to characterize and shape themselves in a variety of ways. At the same time, social constructions have acquired an entirely new and challenging dimension, thanks to online services such as myspace. This chapter investigates the new challenges posed by ICT and the consequent ethical debate about personal identity and community, gender issues and diversity.

    ICT is often synonymous with globalization. It is not by chance that the information society is identified as a transcultural and transnational phenomenon. This chapter focuses on the global, ethical transformations brought about xiv Preface by ICT in three contexts.

    First, the development of a deliberative democracy based on the possibility of a technologically sustainable participation of all members of a community, in a distributed environment this includes, for example, phenomena such as electronic voting systems and feedback mechanisms and web-based political campaigns. Second, the moral and political problems caused by a technological neo-colonialism coming from the information society and affecting non-ICT-based communities.

    This topic is related to the digital divide. How is the information society coping with the new issues posed by equal access to ICT systems for people with disabilities, and by the gap between those with regular, effective access to digital technologies and those without?

    And finally, the debate on pluralism and diversity, that is, whether different cultures the simplified polarization here is often Eastern vs. Western cultures might be able to tolerate, if not appreciate, each other in contexts where ICT forces them to interact. A classic example is represented by the different ways in which cultures may assess the importance and value of privacy. ICE, seen as a branch of applied ethics, is really a transdisciplinary field, which touches on several issues also discussed in other areas of applied ethics.

    ICT plays a key role in bioethics, business ethics, environmental ethics and medical ethics. This chapter investigates these areas of overlapping ethical concerns, to identify the key problems that can be fruitfully approached from an ICE perspective, including biometrics and genetics, the use of computers and computerized control systems in workplaces, environmental issues caused by the IT revolution, and the relation between IT and ethical dilemmas in medical contexts.

    Part IV Ethical issues in artificial contexts This section is dedicated to specific topics and problems, in ICE, characterizing artefacts and synthetic environments. These have been organized into three chapters. Researchers in STS Science and Technology Studies have long argued that human artefacts, their uses and the practices that they generate, or in which they are embedded, have significant ethical implications.

    In this chapter, the xv Preface value-ladenness of technological artefacts is investigated by extending the STS approach to digital products and tools. Chapter 13 Artificial life, artificial agents, virtual realities: AI, ALife, artificial reality. ICT has not only modified the reality which we inhabit, it has also created new realities, new agents and new ways of exploring the world of life.


    These, in turn, have caused old moral issues to be revisited e. The chapter covers the debates on the ethics of artificial intelligence applications, on the nature of moral life in artificial reality environments, and ethical implications of Alife artificial life studies.

    Chapter 14 On new technologies, Steve Clarke Keywords: This radical transformation is already heralding the evolution of new ethical problems, concerning, for example, risk assessment, decisional delegation and heteronomous control. This chapter explores the ethical issues that are arising from these new emerging technologies. Tavani Keywords: As all new disciplines, computer ethics has generated a lively debate on its status as an independent field of philosophical research.

    Is computer ethics just ethics applied to ICT-related problems? Or does it give rise to a new, independent field of investigation? Is it just another branch of applied ethics, or should it be seen as a version of professional ethics?

    In this chapter, the debate and the various positions are analysed, in order to provide the reader with clear grasp of the various perspectives from which the main conceptual issues in the field have been approached. It is a difficult and theoretical topic, which advanced students may wish to study only at the end of their course.

    Acknowledgements Many people contributed to the realization of this book. I am very much indebted to Hilary Gaskin and her team at Cambridge University Press for their outstanding editorial help. This book would have been impossible without their friendly and professional support and feedback. The authors are to be congratulated for their excellent chapters, and thanked for the constructive patience they exercised against what must have seemed sometimes like editorial harassment.

    I am most grateful to all of them for their intellectual contributions. Penny Driscoll, my personal assistant, provided vital help in editing the final bibliography and other parts of the book. The anonymous referees offered some excellent input, which proved very valuable.

    Finally, I owe to Kia, my wife, the environmental happiness within which this book developed. Without her, some editorial problems would have turned into nasty troubles instead of exciting challenges. Some are natural and circular, relying on seasons and planetary motions.

    Some are social or political and linear, being determined, for example, by the succession of Olympic Games, the number of years since the founding of the city of Rome ab urbe condita , or the ascension of a king. Still others are religious and have a V-shape, counting years before and after a particular event e. There are larger periods that encompass smaller ones, named after influential styles Baroque , people Victorian era , particular circumstances Cold War or some new technology Nuclear age.

    What all these and many other metrics have in common is that they are all historical, in the strict sense that they all depend on the development of systems to record events and hence accumulate and transmit information about the past. It follows that history is actually synonymous with the information age, since prehistory is the age in human development that precedes the availability of recording systems. Hence, one may further argue that humanity has been living in various kinds of information societies at least since the Bronze Age, the era that marks the invention of writing in different regions of the world, and especially in Mesopotamia.

    Comparing the computer revolution to the printing revolution would be misleading not because they are unrelated, but because they are actually phases of a much wider, macroscopic process that has spanned millennia: And yet, this is not what we normally mean when talking about the information age.

    Typically, we have in mind something much more limited in scope and closer in time. There may be many explanations, but one seems more convincing than any other: Imagine a historian writing in a million years from now. She may consider it normal, and perhaps even elegantly symmetrical, that it took roughly six millennia from its beginning in the Neolithic, tenth millennium BC, until the Bronze Age for the agricultural revolution to produce its full effect, and then another six millennia from the Bronze Age until the end of the second millennium AD for the information revolution to bear its main fruit.

    During this span of time, information technologies evolved from being mainly recording systems, to being also communication systems especially after Gutenberg , to being also processing systems especially after Turing.

    As I will explain below, they have begun to play the role of re-ontologizing systems. Thanks to this evolution, nowadays the most advanced economies are highly dependent, for their functioning and growth, upon the pivotal role played by informationbased, intangible assets, information-intensive services especially business and property services, communications, finance and insurance, and entertainment as well as information-oriented public sectors especially education, public administration and health care.

    The almost sudden burst of a global information society, after a few millennia of relatively quieter gestation, has generated new and disruptive challenges, which were largely unforeseeable only a few decades ago.

    Needless to say, Information and Communication Technologies ICTs have been changing the world profoundly, irreversibly and problematically since the fifties, at a breathtaking pace, and with unprecedented scope, making the creation, management and utilization of information, communication and computational resources vital issues.

    As a quick reminder, and in order to have some simple, quantitative measure of the transformations experienced by our generation, consider the following findings. In , this was almost MB of recorded data produced per person.

    It is like saying that every newborn baby came into the world with a 2 One exabyte corresponds to 1,,,,,, bytes or This exponential escalation has been relentless: The development of ICT has not only brought enormous benefits and opportunities but also greatly outpaced our understanding of its conceptual nature and implications, while raising problems whose complexity and global dimensions are rapidly expanding, evolving and becoming increasingly serious.

    A simple analogy may help to make sense of the current situation. Our technological tree has been growing its far-reaching branches much more widely, rapidly and chaotically than its conceptual, ethical and cultural roots.

    The lack of balance is obvious and a matter of daily experience in the life of millions of citizens dealing with information-related ethical issues. The risk is that, like a tree with weak roots, further and healthier growth at the top might be impaired by a fragile foundation at the bottom. As a consequence, today, any advanced information society faces the pressing task of equipping itself with a viable philosophy and ethics of information. Applying the previous analogy, while technology keeps growing bottom-up, it is high time we start digging deeper, topdown, in order to expand and reinforce our conceptual understanding of our information age, of its nature, its less visible implications and its impact on human and environmental welfare, and thus give ourselves a chance to anticipate difficulties, identify opportunities and resolve problems, conflicts and dilemmas.

    It is from such a broad perspective that I would like to invite the reader to approach this volume. The chapters constituting it perfectly complement each other. Written by leading experts in the area, they tackle some of the key issues in information and computer ethics ICE. Since the authors need no introduction, and the contents of the chapters are outlined in the preface, in the rest of this introductory chapter my contribution will be to discuss some conceptual undercurrents, which flow beneath the surface of the literature on ICE, and may be seen surfacing in different places throughout this book.

    In discussing them, I shall focus, more generally, on the potential impact of ICT on our lives. And since there would be no merit in predicting the obvious, I will avoid issues such as rising concerns about privacy and identity theft, spamming, viruses, or the importance of semantic tagging, online shopping and virtual communities.

    I will, instead, 3 Source: It denotes the whole informational environment constituted by all informational entities thus including informational agents as well , their properties, interactions, processes and mutual relations.

    It is an environment comparable to, but different from, cyberspace which is only one of its subregions, as it were , since it also includes offline and analogue spaces of information. We shall see that it is also an environment and hence a concept that is rapidly evolving.

    Re-ontologizing is another neologism that I have recently introduced in order to refer to a very radical form of re-engineering, one that not only designs, constructs or structures a system e. In this sense, for example, nanotechnologies and biotechnologies are not merely re-engineering but actually re-ontologizing our world.

    Using the two previous concepts, it becomes possible to formulate succinctly the following thesis: ICTs are re-ontologizing the very nature of and hence what we mean by the infosphere, and here lies the source of some of the most profound transformations and challenging problems that our information societies will experience in the close future, as far as technology is concerned.

    The most obvious way in which ICTs are re-ontologizing the infosphere concerns the transition from analogue to digital data and then the ever-increasing growth of our informational space. Both phenomena are very familiar and require no explanation, but a brief comment may not go amiss. Although the production of analogue data is still increasing, the infosphere is becoming more digital by the day.

    A simple example may help to drive the point home: The ontology of the information technologies available e. This potentially eliminates one of the most long-standing bottlenecks in the infosphere and, as a result, there is a gradual erasure of ontological friction. Ontological friction refers to the forces that oppose the flow of information within a region of the infosphere, and hence as a coefficient to the amount of work and effort required to generate, obtain, process and transmit information in a given environment, e.

    Given a certain amount of information available in a region of the infosphere, the lower the ontological friction within it, the higher the accessibility of that amount of information becomes. Thus, if one quantifies ontological friction from 0 to 1, a fully successful firewall would produce a 1. On the other hand, we describe our society as informationally porous the more it tends towards a 0 degree of informational friction.

    We are all acquainted daily with aspects of a frictionless infosphere, such as spamming and micrometering every fraction of a penny counts. Other significant consequences include a a substantial erosion of the right to ignore: And therefore b an exponential increase in common knowledge: In other words, a and b will also be the case because meta-information about how much information is, was or should have been available will become overabundant.

    Computer ethics

    As I shall argue towards the end of this chapter, ICTs are making humanity increasingly responsible, morally speaking, for the way the world is, will and should be Floridi and Sanders , Floridi b. Luciano Floridi 8 1. This is probably a mistake. ICTs are as much re-ontologizing our world as they are creating new realities. The threshold between here analogue, carbon-based, offline and there digital, silicon-based, online is fast becoming blurred, but this is as much to the advantage of the latter as it is to the former.

    The digital is spilling over into the analogue and merging with it. It is, or will soon be, the next stage in the development of the information age. The increasing re-ontologization of artefacts and of whole social environments suggests that soon it will be difficult to understand what life was like in predigital times and, in the near future, the very distinction between online and offline will become blurred and then disappear.

    To someone who was born in the world will always have been wireless, for example. To put it dramatically, the infosphere is progressively absorbing any other ontological space. Let me explain. In the fast-approaching future, more and more objects will be ITentities able to learn, advise and communicate with each other.

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    A good example but it is only an example is provided by RFID Radio Frequency IDentification tags, which can store and remotely retrieve data from an object and give it a unique identity, like a barcode. Tags can measure 0. Incorporate this tiny microchip in everything, including humans and animals, and you have created ITentities. This is not science fiction. According to a report by market research company InStat, the worldwide production of RFID will increase more than fold between and and reach 33 billion.

    Your Nike and iPod already talk to each other, with predictable but amazingly unforeseen problems in terms of privacy Saponas et al. Nowadays, we are still used to considering the space of information as something we log-in to and log-out from.

    Our view of the world our metaphysics is still modern or Newtonian: But, as I shall argue in the next section, what Ethics after the Information Revolution 9 we still experience as the world offline is bound to become a fully interactive and responsive environment of wireless, pervasive, distributed, a2a anything to anything information processes, that works a4a anywhere for anytime , in real time. Although this might be read, optimistically, as the friendly face of globalization, we should not harbour illusions about how widespread and inclusive the evolution of information societies will be.

    The digital divide will become a chasm, generating new forms of discrimination between those who can be denizens of the infosphere and those who cannot, between insiders and outsiders, between information rich and information poor. It will redesign the map of worldwide society, generating or widening generational, geographic, socio-economic and cultural divides.

    But the gap will not be reducible to the distance between industrialized and developing countries, since it will cut across societies Floridi a. Such animation of the world will, paradoxically, make our outlook closer to that of pre-technological cultures which interpreted all aspects of nature as inhabited by teleological forces. The second step will be a reconceptualization of our ontology in informational terms.

    At the end of this shift, the infosphere will have moved from being a way to refer to the space of information to being synonymous with Being.

    It attaches tags to valuables and enables a computer to pinpoint their location in the home. Luciano Floridi 10 r objects and processes are dephysicalized, typified and perfectly clonable; r the right of usage is at least as important as the right to ownership; and r the criterion for existence is no longer being immutable Greek metaphysics or being potentially subject to perception modern metaphysics but being interactable.

    Despite some important exceptions e. Indeed, we are fast moving towards a commodification of objects that considers repair as synonymous with replacement, even when it comes to entire buildings.

    The information revolution has further exacerbated this process. Once our window-shopping becomes Windows-shopping and no longer means walking down the street but browsing through the Web, the problem caused by the dephysicalization and typification of individuals as unique and irreplaceable entities starts eroding our sense of personal identity as well. We become mass-produced, anonymous entities among other anonymous entities, exposed to billions of other similar inforgs online.

    So we construct, self-brand and re-appropriate ourselves in the infosphere by blogs and FaceBook entries, homepages, YouTube videos, flickr albums, fashionable clothes and choices of places we visit, types of holidays we take and cars we drive and so forth. We use and expose information about ourselves to become less informationally indiscernible. We wish to maintain a high level of informational privacy almost as if that were the only way of saving a precious capital which can then be publicly invested by us in order to construct ourselves as individuals discernible and easily re-identifiable by others.

    Now, processes such as the one I have just sketched are part of a far deeper metaphysical drift caused by the information revolution. One may be called extrovert, Ethics after the Information Revolution 11 or about the world, and the other introvert, or about ourselves.

    Three scientific revolutions have had great impact in both ways. They changed not only our understanding of the external world, but, in doing so, they also modified our conception of who we are. After Nicolaus Copernicus, the heliocentric cosmology displaced the Earth and hence humanity from the centre of the Universe. Charles Darwin showed that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors through natural selection, thus displacing humanity from the centre of the biological kingdom.

    Thirdly, following Sigmund Freud, we acknowledge nowadays that the mind is also unconscious and subject to the defence mechanism of repression, thus displacing it from the centre of pure rationality, a position that had been assumed as uncontroversial at least since Descartes.

    The reader who, like Popper, would be reluctant to follow Freud in considering psychoanalysis a scientific enterprise, might yet be willing to concede that contemporary neuroscience is a likely candidate for such a revolutionary role. Either way, the result is that we are not immobile, at the centre of the Universe Copernican revolution , we are not unnaturally separate and diverse from the rest of the animal kingdom Darwinian revolution , and we are very far from being Cartesian minds entirely transparent to ourselves Freudian or Neuroscientific revolution.

    Freud was the first to interpret these three revolutions as part of a single process of reassessment of human nature see Weinert The hermeneutic manoeuvre was, admittedly, rather self-serving. But it did strike a reasonable note. After Turing, computer science has not only provided unprecedented epistemic and engineering powers over natural and artificial realities; it has also cast new light on who we are and how we are related to the world. Today, we are slowly accepting the idea that we are not standalone and unique entities, but rather informationally embodied organisms inforgs , mutually connected and embedded in an informational environment, the infosphere, which we share with both natural and artificial agents similar to us in many respects.

    A further transformation worth highlighting concerns precisely the emergence of artificial and hybrid multi agents, i. These new agents already share the same ontology with their environment and can operate within it with much more freedom and control. We shall delegate or outsource to artificial agents and companions Floridi a memories, decisions, routine tasks and other activities in ways that will be increasingly integrated with us and with our understanding of what it means to be an agent.

    This is rather well known, but one aspect of this transformation may be in need of some clarification in this context. Our understanding of ourselves as agents will also be deeply affected. Walking around with something like a Bluetooth wireless headset implanted in your ear does not seem the best way forward, not least because it contradicts the social message it is also meant to be sending: The truth is rather that being a sort of cyborg is not what people will embrace, but what they will try to avoid, unless it is inevitable.

    This is something that we shall probably see in the future, but it is still too far away, both technically safely doable and ethically morally acceptable , to be discussed at this stage. As I anticipated in the previous section, I have in mind a quieter, less sensational and yet crucial and profound change in our conception of what it means to be an agent.

    We have begun to see ourselves as connected informational organisms inforgs , not through some fanciful transformation in our body, but, more seriously and realistically, through the re-ontologization of our environment and of ourselves. By re-ontologizing the infosphere, ICTs have brought to light the intrinsically informational nature of human agents.

    This is not equivalent to saying that people have digital alter egos, some Messrs Hydes represented by their s, blogs and https. This trivial point only encourages us to mistake ICTs for merely enhancing technologies. The change is more radical. To understand it, consider the distinction between enhancing and augmenting appliances. Drills and guns are perfect examples.

    It is the cyborg idea. The data and control panels of augmenting appliances are instead interfaces between different possible worlds: Imagine someone trying to build a droid like C3PO capable of washing their dishes in the sink exactly in the same way as a human agent would. Now, despite some superficial appearances, ICTs are not enhancing nor augmenting in the sense just explained.

    They are re-ontologizing devices because they engineer environments that the user is then enabled to enter through possibly friendly gateways. It is a form of initiation. Looking at the history of the mouse, for example, one discovers that our technology has not only adapted to, but also educated, us as users. It follows that we are witnessing an epochal, unprecedented migration of humanity from its Umwelt to the infosphere itself, not least because the latter is absorbing the former. As a result, humans will be inforgs among other possibly artificial inforgs and agents operating in an environment that is friendlier to informational creatures.

    As digital immigrants like us are replaced by digital natives like our children, the latter will come to appreciate that there is no ontological difference between infosphere and Umwelt, only a difference of levels of abstractions Floridi b. Moreover, when the migration is complete, we shall increasingly feel deprived, excluded, handicapped or poor to the point of paralysis and psychological trauma whenever we are disconnected from the infosphere, like fish out of water.

    One day, being an inforg will be so natural that any disruption in our normal flow of information will make us sick. It seems that, in view of this important change in our self-understanding — and of the sort of ICT-mediated interactions that we will increasingly enjoy with other agents, whether biological or artificial, and the infosphere — the best way of tackling the new ethical challenges posed by ICTs may be from an environmental approach, one which does not privilege the natural or untouched, but treats as authentic and genuine all forms of existence and behaviour, even those based on artificial, synthetic or engineered artefacts.

    This sort of holistic or inclusive environmentalism will require a change in how we perceive ourselves and our roles with respect to reality and how we might negotiate a Luciano Floridi 14 new alliance between the natural and the artificial. These are the topics of the next two sections. But the general approach remains substantially the same: Moral action is triggered by a situation. The agent is treated as a world user, a game player, a consumer of moral goods and evils, a browser,7 a guest, or a customer who reacts to pre-established and largely unmodifiable conditions, scenarios and choices.

    Only two temporal modes count: Yet ethics is not only a question of dealing morally well with a given world. It is also a question of constructing the world, improving its nature and shaping its development in the right way. This proactive approach treats the agent as a world owner, a game designer or referee, a producer of moral goods and evils, a provider, a host or a creator. The agent is supposed to be able to plan and initiate action responsibly, in anticipation of future events, in order to try to control their course by making something happen, or by preventing something from happening rather than waiting to respond react to a situation, once something has happened, or merely hoping that something positive will happen.

    There are significant differences between reactive and proactive approaches. There is no space to explore them here, but one may mention, as a simple example, the moral responsibilities of a webmaster as opposed to those of a user of a website. Yet, differences should not be confused with incompatibilities. Contrary to the trolley problem, the last two cases are meant to provide counterexamples against purely consequentialist positions. A proactive approach may help to avoid unrecoverable situations.

    As a result, a large part of an ethical education consists in acquiring the kinds of traits, values and intellectual skills that may enable the agent to switch successfully between a reactive and a proactive approach to the world.

    All this is acknowledged by many ethical systems, albeit with different vocabulary, emphasis and levels of explicitness. For example, deontologism embeds a reactive bias insofar as it supports duties on-demand.

    Computer ethics - Wikipedia

    Another good example is the moral code implicit in the Ten Commandments, which is less proactive than that promoted in the New Testament. The version is more reactive than the version, whose new zeroth law includes a substantially proactive requirement: The best known constructivist approach is virtue ethics. Page Fortunately, though, we are also given two fine essays by computer scientists who are philosophically sophisticated.

    I only wish more of his writings had been included in other sections of this anthology. Page The final Part, on software as property, harks back to Part 2. Diehr, which concluded that some software is patentable, and Apple Computer v.

    Franklin Computer, which came down on the side of copyrighting software. His essay also includes a brief, but valuable, discussion of the nature of computers and computer programs. A student would do well to read this for useful background information before studying the other articles.

    Surely there are ethical issues here. If these problems with the book are the fault of the editors, then it would be nice to see a better anthology. Page William J. This is not an approximation of the appearance of the original printed page. All rights reserved. These works are copyright protected. Any use other than personal requires permission from the respective journal publishers. Copyright for all journal text is held by the respective owner of each journal title. Information is subject to change without notice.

    Please direct inquiries about this website to webmaster nlx. Such efforts include free and open source software and work put into the public domain. Computing professionals should not claim private ownership of work that they or others have shared as public resources. The responsibility of respecting privacy applies to computing professionals in a particularly profound way.

    Technology enables the collection, monitoring, and exchange of personal information quickly, inexpensively, and often without the knowledge of the people affected. Therefore, a computing professional should become conversant in the various definitions and forms of privacy and should understand the rights and responsibilities associated with the collection and use of personal information.

    Computing professionals should only use personal information for legitimate ends and without violating the rights of individuals and groups. This requires taking precautions to prevent re-identification of anonymized data or unauthorized data collection, ensuring the accuracy of data, understanding the provenance of the data, and protecting it from unauthorized access and accidental disclosure.

    Computing professionals should establish transparent policies and procedures that allow individuals to understand what data is being collected and how it is being used, to give informed consent for automatic data collection, and to review, obtain, correct inaccuracies in, and delete their personal data.

    Only the minimum amount of personal information necessary should be collected in a system. The retention and disposal periods for that information should be clearly defined, enforced, and communicated to data subjects. Personal information gathered for a specific purpose should not be used for other purposes without the person's consent.

    Merged data collections can compromise privacy features present in the original collections. Therefore, computing professionals should take special care for privacy when merging data collections. Computing professionals are often entrusted with confidential information such as trade secrets, client data, nonpublic business strategies, financial information, research data, pre-publication scholarly articles, and patent applications.

    Computing professionals should protect confidentiality except in cases where it is evidence of the violation of law, of organizational regulations, or of the Code. In these cases, the nature or contents of that information should not be disclosed except to appropriate authorities. A computing professional should consider thoughtfully whether such disclosures are consistent with the Code.

    Computing professionals should insist on and support high quality work from themselves and from colleagues. The dignity of employers, employees, colleagues, clients, users, and anyone else affected either directly or indirectly by the work should be respected throughout the process. Computing professionals should respect the right of those involved to transparent communication about the project. Professionals should be cognizant of any serious negative consequences affecting any stakeholder that may result from poor quality work and should resist inducements to neglect this responsibility.

    High quality computing depends on individuals and teams who take personal and group responsibility for acquiring and maintaining professional competence. Professional competence starts with technical knowledge and with awareness of the social context in which their work may be deployed. Professional competence also requires skill in communication, in reflective analysis, and in recognizing and navigating ethical challenges. Upgrading skills should be an ongoing process and might include independent study, attending conferences or seminars, and other informal or formal education.

    Professional organizations and employers should encourage and facilitate these activities. Computing professionals must abide by these rules unless there is a compelling ethical justification to do otherwise. Rules that are judged unethical should be challenged. A rule may be unethical when it has an inadequate moral basis or causes recognizable harm. A computing professional should consider challenging the rule through existing channels before violating the rule.

    A computing professional who decides to violate a rule because it is unethical, or for any other reason, must consider potential consequences and accept responsibility for that action. High quality professional work in computing depends on professional review at all stages. Whenever appropriate, computing professionals should seek and utilize peer and stakeholder review.

    Computing professionals should also provide constructive, critical reviews of others' work. Computing professionals are in a position of trust, and therefore have a special responsibility to provide objective, credible evaluations and testimony to employers, employees, clients, users, and the public.

    Computing professionals should strive to be perceptive, thorough, and objective when evaluating, recommending, and presenting system descriptions and alternatives. Extraordinary care should be taken to identify and mitigate potential risks in machine learning systems.

    A system for which future risks cannot be reliably predicted requires frequent reassessment of risk as the system evolves in use, or it should not be deployed. Any issues that might result in major risk must be reported to appropriate parties. A computing professional is responsible for evaluating potential work assignments. This includes evaluating the work's feasibility and advisability, and making a judgment about whether the work assignment is within the professional's areas of competence.

    If at any time before or during the work assignment the professional identifies a lack of a necessary expertise, they must disclose this to the employer or client. The client or employer may decide to pursue the assignment with the professional after additional time to acquire the necessary competencies, to pursue the assignment with someone else who has the required expertise, or to forgo the assignment.

    A computing professional's ethical judgment should be the final guide in deciding whether to work on the assignment. As appropriate to the context and one's abilities, computing professionals should share technical knowledge with the public, foster awareness of computing, and encourage understanding of computing. These communications with the public should be clear, respectful, and welcoming.

    Important issues include the impacts of computer systems, their limitations, their vulnerabilities, and the opportunities that they present. Additionally, a computing professional should respectfully address inaccurate or misleading information related to computing. Individuals and organizations have the right to restrict access to their systems and data so long as the restrictions are consistent with other principles in the Code.

    Consequently, computing professionals should not access another's computer system, software, or data without a reasonable belief that such an action would be authorized or a compelling belief that it is consistent with the public good. A system being publicly accessible is not sufficient grounds on its own to imply authorization.

    Under exceptional circumstances a computing professional may use unauthorized access to disrupt or inhibit the functioning of malicious systems; extraordinary precautions must be taken in these instances to avoid harm to others.

    Breaches of computer security cause harm.


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