Ethics

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  • Ethics

    1. 1. Ethical Decisions, particularly after Sept. 11, 2001 <ul><li>Marsha Woodbury, Ph.D. </li></ul><ul><li>University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign </li></ul>
    2. 2. What a difference a day makes
    3. 3. Terrorism <ul><li>&quot;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.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>A &quot;photo op&quot; 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. </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>Ethics is the study of rational decision making toward just action </li></ul><ul><li>(Doing what we ought to do in situations where we have time to think!) </li></ul><ul><li>We may not be as rational </li></ul><ul><li>as we once thought we were. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs <ul><li>Physiological Needs </li></ul><ul><li>Safety Needs </li></ul><ul><li>Needs of Love, Affection </li></ul><ul><li>and Belongingness </li></ul><ul><li>Needs for Esteem </li></ul><ul><li>Needs for Self-Actualization </li></ul>
    6. 6. Maslow’s Pyramid We dropped a notch <ul><li>A need is no longer a motivator when it is satisfied. Needs are motivators when they are not met. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Journalism Ethics
    8. 8. Journalism Ethics <ul><li>Bodies falling photos </li></ul><ul><li>Self-censorship out of &quot;patriotism&quot; (or was it fear of economic backlash?—Bill Maher) </li></ul><ul><li>WMD </li></ul><ul><li>Repeating what those in authority say…without question </li></ul>
    9. 9. Business Ethics <ul><li>Profiting off stocks rising and falling after a disaster </li></ul><ul><li>Laying off large numbers of workers while drawing huge CEO salaries </li></ul><ul><li>Selling guns to developing countries </li></ul><ul><li>Nike sweat shops, etc. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Computer Ethics <ul><li>Big choices right now! </li></ul><ul><li>Will your skills be used to end terrorism, secure privacy, harass the poor, advance a police state, or what? </li></ul>
    11. 11. Along with the power to change the world comes the duty to execute that power responsibly
    12. 12. Ethics < > Rules or Laws Laws Ethics Death Penalty? Marijuana? Vietnam? Taking away human rights
    13. 13. About Ethics <ul><li>The point is to be somewhat logical, to justify your actions following moral principles </li></ul><ul><li>The struggle is the important part—going through the thinking process </li></ul><ul><li>Guidance from Codes of Ethics (particularly on the social consequences of the program that you are writing) </li></ul>
    14. 14. Before a terrorist attack <ul><li>We weigh our obligations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to society (a hard-sell) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to our families </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to our employer (another hard-sell) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to our clients </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to our colleagues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to our students </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. After an attack <ul><li>We weigh our obligations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to our country (patriotism) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to our families </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to our employer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to our clients </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to our colleagues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to our students </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Key Issues in Computer and Information Ethics before Sept. 11 <ul><li>Privacy (would not link databases) </li></ul><ul><li>Ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Security ( the WTC backups showed responsible use ) </li></ul><ul><li>Access (the web was a helpful tool for communications) </li></ul><ul><li>Authenticity </li></ul>
    17. 17. Worth remembering— from the ALA <ul><li>…&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; </li></ul><ul><li>--Abraham Lincoln </li></ul>
    18. 18. In summary <ul><li>Ethics implies rational decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>After terrorist attacks, we react differently, not as rationally </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, there is a real threat that our decisions will hurt our own interest </li></ul>
    19. 19. Any questions? <ul><li>Please email me at marsha@uiuc.edu </li></ul>

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