25 June 2011

Computer Ethics (Definition)

Computer ethics is a system of moral standards or moral values used as guideline for computer user.

A few definition by others writer ;

Maner’s Definition
The name “computer ethics” was not commonly used until the mid-1970s when Walter Maner began to use it. He defined this field of study as one that examines “ethical problems aggravated, transformed or created by computer technology.” Some old ethical problems, he said, were made worse by computers, while others came into existence because of computer technology. He suggested that we should use traditional ethical theories of philosophers, such as the utilitarian ethics of the English philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, or the rationalist ethics of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant.

Johnson’s Definition
In her book, Computer Ethics (1985), Deborah Johnson said that computer ethics studies the way in which computers “pose new versions of standard moral problems and moral dilemmas, exacerbating the old problems, and forcing us to apply ordinary moral norms in uncharted realms.” Like Maner before her, Johnson adopted the “applied philosophy” approach of using procedures and concepts from utilitarianism and Kantianism. But, unlike Maner, she did not believe that computers create wholly new moral problems. Rather, she thought that computers gave a “new twist” to ethical questions that were already well known.

Moor’s Definition
In his influential article “What Is Computer Ethics?” (1985), James Moor provided a definition of computer ethics that is much broader and more wide-ranging than those of Maner or Johnson. It is independent of any specific philosopher’s theory; and it is compatible with a wide variety of approaches to ethical problem-solving. Since 1985, Moor’s definition has been the most influential one. He defined computer ethics as a field concerned with “policy vacuums” and “conceptual muddles” regarding the social and ethical use of  information technology: A typical problem in Computer Ethics arises because there is a policy vacuum about how computer technology should be used. Computers provide us with new capabilities and these in turn give us new choices for action. Often, either no policies for conduct in these situations exist or existing policies seem inadequate. A central task of Computer Ethics is to determine what we should do in such cases, that is, formulate policies to guide our actions. . . .
One difficulty is that along with a policy vacuum there is often a conceptual vacuum. Although a problem in Computer Ethics may seem clear initially, a little reflection reveals a conceptual muddle. What is needed in such cases is an analysis that provides a coherent conceptual framework within which to formulate a policy for action. (Moor 1985, p. 266)
Moor said that computer technology is genuinely revolutionary because it is “logically malleable”: Computers are logically malleable in that they can be shaped and molded to do any activity that can be characterized in terms of inputs, outputs and connecting logical operations. . . . Because logic applies everywhere, the potential applications of computer technology appear limitless. The computer is the nearest thing we have to a universal tool. Indeed, the limits of computers are largely the limits of our own creativity. (Ibid.) According to Moor, the computer revolution will occur in two stages. The first stage is that of “technological introduction” in which computer technology is developed and refined. This already occurred during the first 40 years after the Second World War. The second stage – one that the industrialized world has only recently entered – is that of “technological permeation” in which technology gets integrated into everyday human activities and into social institutions, changing the very meaning of fundamental concepts, such as “money,” “education,” “work,” and “fair elections.” Moor’s way of defining computer ethics is very powerful and suggestive. It is broad enough to be compatible with a wide range of philosophical theories and methodologies, and it is rooted in a perceptive understanding of how technological revolutions proceed.

Bynum’s Definition
In 1989 Terrell Ward Bynum developed another broad definition of computer ethics following a suggestion in Moor’s 1985 paper. According to this view, computer ethics identifies and analyzes the impacts of information technology on such social and human values as health, wealth, work, opportunity, freedom, democracy, knowledge, privacy, security, self-fulfillment, etc. This very broad view of computer ethics employs applied ethics, sociology of computing, technology assessment, computer law, and related fields. It employs concepts, theories, and methodologies from these and other relevant disciplines. This conception of computer ethics is motivated by the belief that – eventually – information technology will profoundly affect everything that human beings hold dear.

Gotterbarn’s Definition
In the 1990s, Donald Gotterbarn became a strong advocate for a different approach to computer ethics. From his perspective, computer ethics should be viewed as a branch of professional ethics, concerned primarily with standards of good practice and codes of conduct for computing professionals: There is little attention paid to the domain of professional ethics – the values that guide the day-to-day activities of computing professionals in their role as professionals. By computing professional I mean anyone involved in the design and development of computer artifacts. . . . The ethical decisions made during the development of these artifacts have a direct relationship to many of the issues discussed under the broader concept of computer ethics. (Gotterbarn 1991, p. 26)
With this “professional ethics” approach to computer ethics, Gotterbarn co-authored the 1992 version of the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and led a team of scholars in the development of the 1999 ACM/IEEE Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice. (Both of these codes of ethics are included in this book in Part III.) Each of these definitions of computer ethics has influenced this textbook to some extent. Part I makes special use of the ideas of Moor and Maner; later parts of the book bring in other ideas as well.

Albert Einstein said "It is not enough that you should understand about applied science in order that your work may increase man’s blessings. Concern for man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors."

Original text at : http://www.blackwellpublishing.com


Post a Comment


blogger templates | Make Money Online