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Information Ethics: Current and Future Research Areas


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Information Ethics: Current and Future Research Areas

  1. 1. Information Ethics Current and Future Research Areas Rafael Capurro Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute Information Ethics (STI-IE) Lecture at the Division of Information and Library Studies Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University Brno, Czech Republic June 2, 2009
  2. 2. Content <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Foundational Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Current Research Areas </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion: Forthcoming Topics </li></ul><ul><li>Bibliography </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>The concept of ethics as reflection on morality is widely accepted among philosophers going back to Aristotle as the founder of ethics (or ethiké belonging to philosophia praktiké ) as an academic discipline. Constructivists such as Niklas Luhmann underline the critical function of ethical theory with regard to morality (or ethos ) . </li></ul>
  4. 4. Introduction <ul><li>Information ethics evolved out of computer science but has also roots in the library and information science field. </li></ul><ul><li>The University of Pittsburgh and Kent State University are among the US pioneers (Froehlich 2004). </li></ul>
  5. 5. Introduction <ul><li>In the last ten years or so a plethora of international conferences have taken place and the number of scientific publications has dramatically increased. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Introduction <ul><li>Specialized journals: </li></ul><ul><li>Journal of Information Ethics </li></ul><ul><li>The ETHICOMP Journal </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics and Information Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society </li></ul><ul><li>International Review of Information Ethics </li></ul><ul><li>International Journal of Internet Research Ethics </li></ul><ul><li>International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Journal of Computer Mediated Communication </li></ul>
  7. 7. Introduction <ul><li>Professional societies such as </li></ul><ul><li>INSEIT (International Society for Ethics and Information Technology) </li></ul><ul><li>ICIE (International Center for Information Ethics) </li></ul><ul><li>Center of Excellence for Ethics and Technology (The Netherlands) </li></ul><ul><li>as well as IE networks in Africa, Asia and Latin America have contributed to the development of information ethics as a professional research field together with courses in universities world-wide. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Introduction <ul><li>UNESCO conferences on social, ethical and legal aspects of the Information Society since 1998. </li></ul><ul><li>World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 2003 and 2005. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Introduction <ul><li>CATaC Conferences organized by Charles Ess and Fay Sudweeks since 1998. </li></ul><ul><li>ETHICOMP Conferences organized by Simon Rogerson since 1995. </li></ul><ul><li>CEPE conferences (since 1997). </li></ul><ul><li>ICIE Conference 2004: the first international conference addressing explicitly information ethics from an intercultural perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics: international conference 2005 (forth.2010). </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Foundational Debate <ul><li>Charles Ess: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>avoiding imperialistic homogenization which preserving the irreducible differences between cultures and people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Western Ethics and Confucian thought: „resonance“ and „harmony“ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>„ pros hen “ robust pluralism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Between irreducibility and complementarity </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. The Foundational Debate <ul><li>Toru Nishigaki: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Western idea of a „coherent self“ and the Buddhist questionning of this idea. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Western search for universal values and the „doing away of conventional or universal interpretations of the meanings of words“ in ZEN. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cognition as representation vs. „enactment“ of the history of actions of a subject in the world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethics as observer-dependent reflection on moral norms („fundamental informatics“). </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. The Foundational Debate <ul><li>Terrell Ward Bynum: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>„ flourishing ethics“ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic principles: freedom, equality and benevolence, minimum infringement of freedom. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maximize the opportunities of all humans to exercise their autonomy. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different cultures „can provide a conductive context for human flourishing.“ </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. The Foundational Debate <ul><li>Luciano Floridi: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the quest for an ethics of/for the „infosphere“ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different clases of information entities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>„ onto-centric“ ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Various degrees of „intrinsic value“ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Various leels of moral respect (from a customer profile until human dignity) </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Current Research Areas <ul><li>(See: Himma/Tavani 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Theoretical Issues of Property, Privacy, Anonymity, and Security </li></ul><ul><li>Professional Issues: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Library Profession </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free and Open Source </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet Research Ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health Information Technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information and Business Ethics </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Current Research Areas <ul><li>Responsibility Issues and Risk Assessment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Responsibilities for Information on the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtual Reaiity and Computer Simulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Genetic Information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Ethics of Cyber Conflict </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Current Research Areas <ul><li>Regulatory Isues and Challenges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet Governance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information Overload </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Email Spam </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plagiarims </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intellectual Property </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Current Research Areas <ul><li>Access and Equity Issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Censorship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender Agenda </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital Divide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intercultural Information Ethics </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Conclusion <ul><li>Forthcoming topics: </li></ul><ul><li>Surveillance society </li></ul><ul><li>Convergent Technologies (Nano, Bio, Info, Cogno) </li></ul><ul><li>Robotics </li></ul><ul><li>Ubiquitous Computing </li></ul><ul><li>E-Waste </li></ul><ul><li>ICT-Implants and Enhancements </li></ul>
  19. 19. Bibliography <ul><li>Capurro, R. (2008): On Floridi‘s Metaphysical Foundation of Information Ecology. Ethics and Information Technology , Vol. 10, No. 2-3, 167-173. </li></ul><ul><li>Capurro, R. (2008): Intercultural Information Ethics. Foundations and applications. Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society , Vol. 6, No. 2, 116-126. </li></ul><ul><li>Capurro, R., Frühbauer, J., Hausmanninger, Th. (Eds.) (2007), Localizing the Internet: ethical aspects in intercultural perspective. Munich: Fink </li></ul><ul><li>Capurro, R. (2007): Intercultural Information Ethics. In: Rafael Capurro, Johannes Frühbauer, Thomas Hausmanninger (Eds.): Localizing the Internet. Ethical Aspects in Intercultural Perspective. ICIE Series, Munich: Fink, pp. 21-38. </li></ul><ul><li>Froehlich, Thomas J. (2004): A brief history of information ethics. Textos universitaris de  bibliioteconomia i documentació , 3 . </li></ul><ul><li>Himma, K.E. and Tavani, H.T. (Eds.) (2008): The Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley & Sons. </li></ul><ul><li>Hongladarom, S. and Ess, Ch. (Eds.) (2007) Information Technology Ethics: Cultural Perspectives. Hershey PA and London: Idea Group Reference. </li></ul>