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Computer Ethics Essay

967 words - 4 pages

One of the major concerns for business currently is Computer Ethics (CE) or information ethics. Computer Ethics is a new division of ethics growing and changing at a startling rate as technology evolves. The term "Computer Ethics" can be interpreted from different perspectives. For instance, as explained by Luciano Floridi, Computer Ethics can be viewed as the efforts of professional philosophers to apply traditional ethical theories, for instance utilitatianism, Kantianism, or virtue ethics to issues regarding the use of computer technology. From a different perspective however, Computer Ethics can be viewed as very inclusive and broad, by including standards of business practices, code of conduct and public policy.In industrialized nations, technology has touched and modified many aspects of life; for instance, banking, shopping, medical care, employment and entertainment. In some aspects these changes have been of great benefit to all, however in some instances it has been of great detriment; case in point, community life, family life and relationships. Of great impact to all has been the loss of privacy, freedom and democracy in this post 9-11 environment mostly due to the U.S. Patriot Act. Computer Ethics tries to study and analyze the social and ethical impact of technology in society.Computer Ethics in recent years have grown to a major field of studies in universities, conferences, professional organizations, books, journals and research centers. In this new field of studies, greatly accelerated by the advancement of the Internet and the World-Wide-Web, Computer Ethics is rapidly growing into a global information ethics field.As a field of studies, Professor Norbert Wiener and a team of engineers founded Computer Ethics during the 1940's World War II era. The project was to develop a weapon that would track down an airplane, calculate the planes heading, and transfer this data to another section of the weapon, which would then fire the missile. The challenge in engineering this project provided insight to Wiener and his colleagues to create this new branch of science called cybernetics. Cybernetics can be defined as the science of information feedback systems. The concepts of cybernetics, when combined with the digital computers being created at that time, led Wiener to draw some insightful ethical conclusions. He perceptively foresaw innovative social and ethical consequences. Wiener in his book titled, "Cybernetics: or control and communication in the animal and the machine", states the following:It has long been clear to me that the modern ultra-rapid computing machine was in principle an ideal central nervous system to an apparatus for automatic control; and that its input and output need not be in the form of numbers or diagrams but might very well be, respectively, the readings of artificial sense organs, such as photoelectric cells or thermometers, and the performance of motors or solenoids.... we are already in a position to...

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