Essay Ethics Computer Quick Flip Questions For Critical Thinking
As the role of computing continues its decades-long expansion in society, computer scientists are central to what happens next.
That’s why the world’s largest organization of computer scientists and engineers, the Association for Computing Machinery, of which I am president, has issued a new code of ethics for computing professionals.
The group’s “Ask An Ethicist” blog and video series invites the public to submit scenarios or quandaries as they arise in practice.
Word is also underway to develop teaching modules so the concepts can be integrated into computing education from primary school through university. My personal favorite was the comment from a young programmer after reading the code: “Now I know what to tell my boss if he asks me to do something like that again.” The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct begins with the statement, “Computing professionals’ actions change the world.” We don’t know if our code will last as long as the Hippocratic oath.
As the creators of these technologies, computing professionals have helped usher in the new and richly vibrant rhythms of modern life.
But as computers become increasingly interwoven into the fabric of life, we in the profession must personally recommit to serving society through ethical conduct.
ACM’s last code of ethics was adopted in 1992, when many people saw computing work as purely technical.
The internet was in its infancy and people were just beginning to understand the value of being able to aggregate and distribute information widely.
For example, computer vision research has led to ways of creating 3D models of objects – and people—based on 2D images, but it was never intended to be used in conjunction with machine learning in surveillance or drone applications.And it’s why ACM is taking other steps to help technologists engage with ethical questions.A code of ethics is more than just a document on paper.Their work can protect—or jeopardize—critical infrastructure like electrical grids and transportation lines.And the algorithms they write may determine who gets a job, who is approved for a bank loan or who gets released on bail.
The old ethics code asked software developers to be sure a program would actually do what they said it would.