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Ethics Ethics Presentation Transcript

  • Ethical Decisions, particularly after Sept. 11, 2001
    • Marsha Woodbury, Ph.D.
    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • What a difference a day makes
  • Terrorism
    • "The single common denominator is that it is a psychological weapon, intended to erode trust and undermine confidence in our government, its elected officials, institutions or policies."
    • A "photo op" attack is what a terrorist prefers, not the unseen cyber terrorism that we also worry about. The sympathizers who don't train at camps can do major damage online.
    • Ethics is the study of rational decision making toward just action
    • (Doing what we ought to do in situations where we have time to think!)
    • We may not be as rational
    • as we once thought we were.
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
    • Physiological Needs
    • Safety Needs
    • Needs of Love, Affection
    • and Belongingness
    • Needs for Esteem
    • Needs for Self-Actualization
  • Maslow’s Pyramid We dropped a notch
    • A need is no longer a motivator when it is satisfied. Needs are motivators when they are not met.
    • After a terrorist attack, in countries with strong “rights” traditions, many people feel that they are at level two, even if they are not near that level.
  • Journalism Ethics
  • Journalism Ethics
    • Bodies falling photos
    • Self-censorship out of "patriotism" (or was it fear of economic backlash?—Bill Maher)
    • WMD
    • Repeating what those in authority say…without question
  • Business Ethics
    • Profiting off stocks rising and falling after a disaster
    • Laying off large numbers of workers while drawing huge CEO salaries
    • Selling guns to developing countries
    • Nike sweat shops, etc.
  • Computer Ethics
    • Big choices right now!
    • Will your skills be used to end terrorism, secure privacy, harass the poor, advance a police state, or what?
  • Along with the power to change the world comes the duty to execute that power responsibly
  • Ethics < > Rules or Laws Laws Ethics Death Penalty? Marijuana? Vietnam? Taking away human rights
  • About Ethics
    • The point is to be somewhat logical, to justify your actions following moral principles
    • The struggle is the important part—going through the thinking process
    • Guidance from Codes of Ethics (particularly on the social consequences of the program that you are writing)
  • Before a terrorist attack
    • We weigh our obligations
      • to society (a hard-sell)
      • to our families
      • to our employer (another hard-sell)
      • to our clients
      • to our colleagues
      • to our students
  • After an attack
    • We weigh our obligations
      • to our country (patriotism)
      • to our families
      • to our employer
      • to our clients
      • to our colleagues
      • to our students
  • Key Issues in Computer and Information Ethics before Sept. 11
    • Privacy (would not link databases)
    • Ownership
    • Security ( the WTC backups showed responsible use )
    • Access (the web was a helpful tool for communications)
    • Authenticity
  • Worth remembering— from the ALA
    • …&quot;freedom is not some arbitrary right that is bestowed upon us because of the virtuous nature of our national character. It is a right we must protect and defend in both times of promise and peril if we are to remain in the future what we are in the present -- a free and honorable people.&quot;
    • --Abraham Lincoln
  • In summary
    • Ethics implies rational decision-making
    • After terrorist attacks, we react differently, not as rationally
    • Thus, there is a real threat that our decisions will hurt our own interest
  • Any questions?
    • Please email me at marsha@uiuc.edu