This chapter deals with the influence of mediation in different kinds of virtual environments, e.g. virtual conferences, e-learning platforms, distance learning environments and surroundings, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and various other user interfaces. Mediation is a means in which messages, discussion and behaviour are becoming more and more conceptual and abstract and have an effect on our social being. As a result of mediation there is no first-hand experience of reality, everything is constructed, and in virtual reality we have receded a long way off from real life. Mediation affects our capability to make independent ethical decisions. The same process is discerned in all the social and commercial practice where it is rationalized by processing techniques or when it is made virtual. Here mediation is studied from a phenomenological perspective. Quantification, modelling and regulation also describe aspects of mediation. This chapter is a review article and an opening in mediational ethics based on classical philosophy.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Mediation: A means in which messages, discussion and behaviour are becoming more and more conceptual and abstract and have an effect on our social being.
Digital Divide: The term refers to the gap between those with regular, effective access to Digital and information technology, and those without this access. It encompasses both physical access to technology hardware and, more broadly, skills and resources which allow for its use.
Virtual Reality: A notional image or environment generated by computer software, with which a user can interact realistically.
Virtual: Something made by software to appear to be real from the point of view of the program or the user.
Phenomenology: A method or procedure, originally developed by the German philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), which involves the setting aside of presuppositions about a phenomenon as an empirical object and about the mental acts concerned with experiencing it, in order to achieve an intuition of its pure essence.
Cyberethics: The term refers to a code of safe and responsible behaviour for the Internet community. Practicing good cyberethics involves understanding the risks of harmful and illegal behaviour online and learning how to protect ourselves, and other Internet users, from such behaviour.
E-Learning: Learning conducted via electronic media, esp. on the Internet.
Ethics: The science of morals; the department of study concerned with the principles of human duty.
Frame: A set of standards, beliefs, or assumptions governing perceptual or logical evaluation or social behaviour.
E-Society: Virtual environments in the Internet: e.g. e-commerce, e-business and e-government.
Distance Learning: Education in which contact between students and teacher is principally by correspondence or broadcast programmes, rather than face to face.