Insights from Tamara Phillips Fudge, Purdue University Global Faculty, Author, and Editor

Why New Technologies Need to Always Consider the Human

By Tamara Fudge on Jun 22, 2023
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Technology can obviously do a lot of wondrous things. The internet lets you order groceries, comparison shop, continue learning, and for many, keep jobs during the pandemic and beyond. Sensors in some vehicles help parking without incident, drones are deployed to assist in searching for missing people, and stores use scanners to add prices and present you with a total due. The cell phone in your pocket is a camera, calculator, miniature game console, GPS system, and communication device for text, audio, and video. Lest we forget, the television and kitchen appliances were created by technology too, and some are now empowered with "smart" technology. Our lives are thus intertwined with technology – but control is not always in the hands of the user.

Some will credit Marvel comics with an adage about power and responsibility, but the idea goes much further back. During the French Revolution, it was declared:
Ils doivent envisager qu’une grande responsabilité est la suite inséparable d’un grand pouvoir. Ce sera à leur énergie, à leur courage, et sur-tout à leur prudence, qu’ils devront leur succès et leur gloire. (Convention Nationale, 1793, p. 72)
They must see that great responsibility is the inseparable consequence of great power. It will be to their energy, to their courage, and above all to their prudence, that they will owe their success and
their glory.
The fast pace of our world makes this connection rather tenuous. We know that technology changes constantly. It is entirely possible that while you read this short essay, a new idea was conceived, a new tool was finished, or a new technology is now moments away from public launch. Accountability is partially measured by laws, which take time to write and pass once ethical ramifications are understood. Meanwhile, humans may well be adversely affected by technological advances; development and problem mitigation can be a vicious cycle of wavering control.
Exploring Ethical Problems in Today’s Technological World
Prof. Tamara Phillips Fudge
© 2022 | 385 pgs. | ISBN: 9781799876533
  • Offering the Latest Research Findings from 20+ Scholars Hailing from 10 Institutions in Six Countries
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  • Covers Topics such as Ethical Issues, Data Rights, &
    Artificial Intelligence
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Who is Responsible?
We could argue that the initial responsibility for ethical technology rests with developers but there are still far too many questions. Wysopal (2020) says that data breaches might be the legal liability of the infiltrated company (which is also a victim) or a vendor whose hardware or software allowed hackers inside. A lawyer at Case Western Reserve University says it is not always clear if the operator or the manufacturer is responsible when an autonomous car is involved in a crash – although the manufacturer may be quick to point to the driver even if the crash is due to failures with the technology (McEwen, 2023). False positives from facial recognition can be the cause for wrongful arrests (Marks, 2021), but whether the software creator or the police are responsible is up for debate.
It is clear that responsibility and power with technology projects need to be better connected, and the prudence mentioned in the French document is the reminder to approach each situation with caution. Indeed, this also takes courage.
Learning is the Best Defense
The first important step is educating stakeholders so that potential complications can be expected and mitigated – or avoided entirely – before technologies are launched to the public. Becoming aware of potential problems is the best first step in protecting the human.
The IGI Global book, Exploring Ethical Problems in Today’s Technological World (ISBN:9781668458921), provides this depth needed for better understanding. Topics include accessibility and design, RFID chipping, facial recognition, use of social media, digital "nudging," privacy and data rights, autonomous cars, smart homes, the digital footprint, the metaverse, and teaching ethics, plus business concerns such as leadership, policy development, and "when to say no." Faculty and practitioners from 11 institutions and four continents contributed to this volume, which is an excellent resource for computer professionals, policymakers, and students alike.

About the Editor
Prof. Tamara Phillips Fudge
Tamara Phillips Fudge, DMus., is a full-time professor in the graduate technology programs at Purdue University Global. She has won fellowships and awards for innovation and teaching, and has taught a wide variety of topics, including web development, human-computer interaction, systems analysis and design, and those featuring documentation, diagramming, problem-solving, and presentation. Her career started with music degrees from Indiana University and Florida State University. She sang opera, oratorio, and in recital; her compositions have been heard on Public Radio, at various universities, and a state choral convention. She taught vocal and choral music, piano, pedagogy, foreign language diction, opera production, music theory, composition, and related courses in the traditional college classroom for 20-odd years. For 7 years, she was a weekend correspondent for the Quad-City Times (Davenport, IA). Following a brief stint as an agent/registered representative selling life and health insurance and variable products, she returned to school with a keen interest in technology and has since distinguished herself in online teaching, coordination of large projects, and curriculum development.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.
Convention Nationale. (1793, May 8). Collection Générale des Décrets Rendus par l'Assemblée Nationale (Vol. 9). Chez Baudouin.
Marks, P. (2021, March). Can the biases in facial recognition be fixed; Also, should they? Communications of the ACM, 64(3), 20–22.
McEwen, C. (2023, April 11). Who's liable in a 'self-driving' car crash? The Daily of Case Western Reserve University.
Wysopal, C. (2020, May 26). Determining liability for security breaches isn't black and white. Forbes.
About IGI Global
Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA with a subsidiary office (IGI Science and Technology, Ltd.) operating out of Beijing, China, IGI Global is a leading medium-sized independent international academic publisher of scholarly reference sources. They are committed to facilitating the discovery of pioneering scientific research that enhances and expands the body of knowledge available to the research community through traditional and open access publishing workflows. Working in close collaboration with more than 150,000+ expert researchers and professionals from leading institutions, IGI Global publishes quality peer-reviewed content in three major academic subject areas:

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