Ethics and Computers (Brian Cox)

In most countries, information technology has altered many aspects of life such as commerce, employment, medicine, security, transportation, entertainment, along with others. This has led to a change, both good and bad, in community life, family life, human relationships, education, careers, and freedom. This all began with the invention and widespread use of computers. Norbert Wiener identified around 1948 that there would be ethical implications involved. He believed that entirely different ethical laws would need to be put into place, not just adapted ones from traditional ethics. Some people agreed with him, but many thought he was crazy. he believed that computers would affect key human values such as life, health, happiness, knowledge, freedom, security, and opportunities. His methodolgy for solving computer ethical problems was to identify the question, clarify ambiguous ideas, apply already existing rules, and if all else fails use basic human values and justice to solve it. Wiener was right when he said that computers would pose ethical problems. They are much more efficient than humans, and are therefore more desireable in the workplace. This doesn't mean that employers should fire everyone though. Computer crimes have been taking place by hackers, which invades privacy. This requires that some sort of universal policy be put into place. And since computers have no borders, the policies must be effective worldwide. The ownership, and whether or not there should be, of software and other technological information has been questioned. Also, there needs to be responsibility among relationships of profesionals, employers, employees, clients, and society. Information technology and computers are also widening the gap between the rich and poor which needs to be addressed.

Computers relate to ethical discussions from class. Though a different set of rules must be put into place because of new ethical problems, society still must agree on acceptable regultions. It poses questions such as what set of morals one should follow, even if nobody else is around to notice. Should people do what benefits themselves the most or society. There are dilemmas such as what decision to make over another, and how much it would affect someone else. There are also different levels of potential good or bad. This could be the difference between illegally downloading a song to stealing thousands or millions of dollars through computers.

Questions for the future
What are the benefits or drawbacks from sharing software?
Should computer crimes be punished just the same as regular crimes?
Will society benefit if a majority of labor is performed by robots?

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