CPs Ethics position paper
&#8226; 1. The apparent technical ??success" of drone aircraft (those without a human pilot on board and controlled by computer) in counter-terrorism actions has raised several controversies regarding issues like the nature of international human rights, the rules of warfare (especially with regard to non-combatants), and how inter-nation policy should be developed. What limits if any should be placed on military use of drones? On drones being used for other purposes (e.g. delivery of purchases)?
&#8226; 2. To what extent should Computing Professionals (CPs) be held responsible for the propriety of the content of the information contained in/communicated by systems that use the artifacts they design and/or build?
&#8226; 3. How much of an obligation should CPs have to point out the limitations/possibilities for abuse of the use of these artifacts (e.g., simulation)?
&#8226; 4. To what extent should the programs CPs write generating responses to ??search?? queries should reflect and be ordered in relation to the users previous choices or by some ??universal?? notion of relevance?
&#8226; 5. Should CPs strive as much as possible to implement systems that informate rather than replace human activities?
&#8226; 6. Should CPs only download files over which they have unchallenged right of access?
&#8226; 7. Should CPs promote use of Free/Libre and/or Open Source, as opposed to proprietary, software;
&#8226; 8. Should CPs do research/take money for research from military and/or secret government resources?
&#8226; 9. Should CPs support efforts to make information maximally available (e.g., those of wikileaks or anonymous)?
&#8226; 10. How much of a collective capacity should CPs have to sanction a computing professional who engages in unethical practice?
&#8226; 11. Should study of ethics be a required part of education for CPs?
&#8226; 12. How much should CPs be held ethically responsible for the social crisis that developed in the finance? and
&#8226; 13. How much should CPs be expected to be able to handle the ??live?? ethical issues in the application arenas in which they are working?
Submit a position paper on an issue in computing and information ethics, using the approach to ethical issues presented in the class as the outline for the paper. You may choose one of the issues listed above??
The required Approach to ??Doing?? Ethics: A Strategy for Handling Professional Ethical Issues in Computing
1. Given an issue, begin by identifying the existing range of views of computing professionals relevant to it; That is, the views one and one??s colleagues typically take to issues of this kind, including diverse views on how to express the issue, which values are relevant to it, and the values?? ethical implications, positions on the issue that these views tend to incline toward; then
2. Figure out how to state the issue not only as a proposition, one a) clear, b) something that is a position you wish to defend, and c) something as equally respectful to the range of legitimate views on the issue as possible. That is, the propositions should avoid one sided phrasings, as well as rhetorical questions of the ??Do you still beat your spouse??? variety. Next,
3. Access relevant scholarship and other research-based information and then use it to differentiate the views that have a good empirical basis from those that don??t, so you can identify which of the predispositions seem likely to be borne out and which seem not so likely; and then finally
4. Develop ethical arguments compatible with the empirical data and your own more general value inclinations, and test them for their persuasiveness in a civil ??adversarial?? context??like a trial or a debate. The goal here is not to develop personal moral convictions but rather, by finding out which arguments have the most collective ethical appeal, to present your argumentation in a manner likely to help build a more cohesive ethical/professional community.
When doing this step, consider using the following outline:
1. Begin by restating the core ethical issue relevant to the framing you have chosen.
2. Identify relevant claims and arguments.
3. Consider relevant empirical matters.
4. Arrange those claims/arguments compatible with empirical facts in dialectic (back and forth) order.
5. Identify which kinds of ethical claims involved (e.g., Utilitarian, Deontological; Williamsian Thick Ethical Constructs).
6. Evaluate claims.
7. Consider alternatives.
8. Conclude with why you think your analysis is best.
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