Ethical Computing Continues From Problem to Solution

Ethical Computing Continues From Problem to Solution

Wanbil William Lee (The Computer Ethics Society, Hong Kong & Wanbil & Associates, Hong Kong)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch423

Abstract

Ethical Computing is instrumental in identifying and reaching a near-ideal solution to the problems arising from an environment that is technology-driven information-intensive. Many of these problems could have been avoided, occur, because we are either insensitive to or ignorant of their ethical implications. As a result, we could reach only a partial, compromised solution at best. An ideal solution is expected to be technically efficient, financially viable and legal admissible, ethically acceptable, socially desirable, and in many situations environmentally-friendly (the so-called hexa-dimension criteria), and balanced in terms the six criteria or five criteria (in case the problem does not involve ecological concerns). An exposition of an ideal solution in terms of the requisite competence and the additive is presented.
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Introduction

Ethical Computing (Lee, 2015a) is instrumental in identifying and reaching a near-ideal solution to the problems arising from an environment that is technology-driven information-intensive. These problems raise techno-ethical issues, particularly information security concerns. Post-implementation and post-contract problems are cases in point. Many of these problems could have been avoided, occur; because we are either insensitive to or ignorant of their ethical implications. As a result, we could reach only a partial, compromised solution at best.

Ideally, the solution is not only technically efficient, financially viable and legal admissible, but also ethically acceptable, socially desirable, and in many situations environmental-friendly (the so-called hexa-dimension criteria) (Lee, 2015b & 2015d). In addition, the solutions sought must be capable of balancing the potential inter-conflicts among these demands or satisfying the five or six criteria. Given the conditions, a deep understanding of the basic ethical principles and the requisite technical know-how (the requisite competence) are necessary, and shifting our view on risk culminating in a new type of risk called techno-ethical risk or simply ethical risk and adopting a new tool of analysis to cater for the new risk (the additive) are also required (Lee, 2015c).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Requisite Competence: This comprises the technical-know (the rudimentary skills and knowledge to use the computer) and a deep understanding of the basic ethical principles.

Technology-Driven Information-Intensive: This is a phenomenon that characterized the contemporary society and attributes to the vicious circle: increase in demand for information leads to increase in reliance on technology, and increase in use of technology consumes and generates more information. One the one hand, to capture market share and attract customers, contemporary business organizations rely increasingly on information technology to accumulate and process data needed to advertise services and products. Hence, the marketplace becomes more transparent, and the consumers are better-informed thus more demanding. More information is required and technology is more heavily relied upon. On the other hand, to aid business, to increase the processing power, and to handle the increase in data volume, new technological facilities such as call center and weblining (for marketing), and Big Data, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing (for communication and data management) are developed and used by business but these facilities consume and generate more data. In turn, reliance on technology increases to handle the information explosion.

Additive: This is a supplement to the requisite competence which alone is not sufficient, and a requirement of a change in viewing risk as having not only technical, physical, financial and legal but also ethical and social implications, and a tool or method to cater for this type of risk.

Ethical Risk (Short for Techno-Ethical Risk): Abusing technology or technology-based systems constitutes a risk called techno-ethical risk or ethical risk. Using the computer or developing computer-based systems or software inconsistent with ethical principles results in computer-ethical risk or simply ethical risk.

Ethical Computing: The practice of Computer Ethics and can be regarded as a branch of Computing, somewhat akin to Green Computing, Mobile Computing, and Cloud Computing. Whereas the others deal with tangible aspects of Computing, Ethical Computing handles techno-ethical aspects.

Hexa-Dimension Criteria: This refers to an ideal state expected of a solution that is technically efficient, financially viable, legally admissible, socially desirable, and ethically acceptable. Another dimension “environmentally sustainable” was added making a hexa-dimension model was developed and presented for consideration as a metric for the design of a code of conduct corporate-wide or functional unit based (Lee, 2015d AU16: The citation "Lee, 2015d" matches multiple references. Please add letters (e.g. "Smith 2000a"), or additional authors to the citation, to uniquely match references and citations. ).

The Problem: Referred to in this article: Its symptom is the phenomenon called technology-driven information-intensive. Its cause is techno-ethical risk or ethical risk . This type of risk created because the user not only is insensitive to or ignorant of the ethical aspect of the problems and its ramifications, attributing to a lack of deep appreciation of the ethical principles, but also treats risk as a technical, corporate/personal matter when it is in fact a managerial, social concern under the influence of the so-called flawed education across science and technology and misinterpretation of risk. Post-contract problems and post-implementation problems are typical examples.

Computer Ethics: Applied Ethics referring ethical issues arising out of using the computer and its peripherals.

Ideal Solution: To solve the problem which is required to satisfy the penta-dimensional criteria, the proposed solution is structured around the two major components, requisite competence and additive (to supplement the requisite competence which alone is not sufficient).

The Basic Ethical Principles: For the purpose of this exposition, included are relativism, deontology, consequentialism and utilitarianism, categorical imperative, Social Contract Theory, and Golden Rule.

The Computer Ethics Society: Was established in 2012, aiming to promote professional and ethical standards, and to foster an open platform for sharing and interchanging experience and knowledge of moral issues associated with the use and development of ICT-based systems ( www.iEthicsSoc.org ).

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