Many problems in software development can be traced to a narrow understanding of professional responsibility. The author examines ways in which software developers have tried to avoid accepting responsibility for their work. After cataloguing various types of responsibility avoidance, the author introduces an expanded concept of positive responsibility. It is argued that the adoption of this sense of positive responsibility will reduce many problems in software development.
There has been a transition in the way software developers work. Mistakes in software have been treated as "normal" occurrences. "All software has bugs." However, software engineering is an emerging profession which as a profession has now said that a caviler approach to software errors is unacceptable. They have asserted a very strong ethical position in the Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice, a position which mandates concern for all those affected by their work. The Code has several (...) unique elements as a professional Code. (shrink)
The positive qualities of the Internet--anonymity, openness, and reproducibility have added a new ethical dimension to the privacy debate. This paper describes a new and significant way in which privacy is violated. A type of personal information, called virtual information is described and the effectiveness of techniques to protect this type of information is examined. This examination includes a discussion of technical approaches and professional standards as ways to address this violation of virtual information.
Video games are ethically controversial. Some video games are effective training tools for learning various skills and approaches to problem-solving, but some video games are notorious for promoting discriminatory and barbaric behavior. We consider such ethical pros and cons of video games, but we also present a more fundamental ethical issue about video games. Most video games have a bias toward self-centered decision-making. Often the decision-making driver is not the impact of the decision on society but rather the quantity of (...) rewards for their individual character. This bias can be an obstacle to employing good ethical analysis and good ethical decision-making in video games. In this paper we discuss the ethical theory of Just Consequentialism and show how it can be used to introduce ethical values into video game design and how it can be useful for ethical decision-making, even rapid ethical decision-making, in both virtual world and real worlds. (shrink)
In the third Meditation once having arrived at the conclusion that a perfect being exists, Descartes infers that this perfect being could not be a deceiver. I maintain that there is no valid way he can move from his conclusion that a perfect being exists to the conclusion that this being cannot be a deceiver. In order to see the difficulties with this inference it is necessary to examine the use of the idea of perfection in the argument for the (...) existence of the perfect being, but I will not otherwise concern myself with the validity of the argument for the existence of God. (shrink)
We describe the process of changing and the changes being suggested for the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. In addition to addressing the technical and ethical basis for the proposed changes, we identify suggestions that commenters made in response to the first draft. We invite feedback on the proposed changes and on the suggestions that commenters made.
Purpose This short viewpoint is a response to a lead paper on professional ethics in the information age. This paper aims to draw upon the authors’ experience of professional bodies such as the ACM over many years. Points of agreement and disagreement are highlighted with the aim of promoting wider debate. Design/methodology/approach An analysis of the lead paper is undertaken using a binary agree/disagree approach. This highlights the conflicting views which can then be considered in more detail. Findings Four major (...) agreements and four major disagreements are identified. There is an emphasis on “acultural” professionalism to promote moral behavior rather than amoral behavior. Originality/value This is an original viewpoint which draws from the authors’ practical experience and expertise. (shrink)
In der Monadologie und in den Meditationes schreibt Leibniz, Descartes' ontologischer Gottesbeweis sei unvollständig. In diesem Aufsatz untersuche ich Leibniz' Bemühen um die Vervollständigung des Beweises. Sein Argument für die Prämisse „Der Gottesbegriff ist ein möglicher Begriff“ ist unverträglich mit einem anderen Stück seiner Metaphysik, und zwar mit seiner Annahme einer Art von Disparata. Leibniz behauptet, der Gottesbegriff sei ein möglicher, d. h. kein inkompatibler Begriff. Er vertritt die These, Gott bestehe aus einfachen Eigenschaften und diese könnten nicht inkompatibel sein, (...) weil einfache Eigenschaften nicht zerlegbar seien. Ich vertrete jedoch die These, daß Leibniz Unverträglichkeiten zwischen einfachen Eigenschaften zuläßt. Diese Art von Unverträglichkeit wird dann betrachtet in Beziehungen zu den Wegen, auf denen wir nach Leibniz Gottes Eigenschaften erkennen können. Es wird gezeigt, daß sein Bemühen, im ontologischen Gottesbeweis nachzuweisen, daß der GottesbegrifF ein möglicher Begriff sei, vergeblich ist. (shrink)
The Association for Computing Machinery's Committee on Professional Ethics has been charged to execute three major projects over the next two years: updating ACM's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, revising the enforcement procedures for the Code, and developing new media to promote integrity in the profession. We cannot do this alone, and we are asking SIGCAS members to volunteer and get involved. We will briefly describe the rationale and plan behind these projects and describe opportunities to get involved.
The types of errors that emerge in the development and maintenance of software are essentially different from the types of errors that emerge in the development and maintenance of engineered hardware products. There is a set of standard responses to actual and potential hardware errors, including: engineering ethics codes, engineering practices, corporate policies and laws. The essential characteristics of software errors require new ethical, policy, and legal approaches to the development of software in the global arena.