6. APPLIED PHILOSOPHY NOTES - AppliedPhilosophy(GS...

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AppliedPhilosophy(GS F312)/dr.AnoopGeorge/BitsPilaniGoa 1 NOTES APPLIED PHILOSOPHY (GS F312): BITS Pilani Goa COMPUTER AND INFORMATION ETHICS Information and Communication Technologies have profoundly altered many aspects of life, including the nature of entertainment, work, communication, education, health care, industrial production and business, social relations and conflicts. As a consequence, they have had a radical and widespread impact on our moral lives and hence on contemporary ethical debates. Consequently, information and communication technology (ICT) has affected – in both good ways and bad ways – community life, family life, human relationships, education, careers, freedom, and democracy. The more specific term “computer ethics” has been used, in the past, in several different ways. For example, it has been used to refer to applications of traditional Western ethics theories like utilitarianism, Kantianism, or virtue ethics, to ethical cases that significantly involve computers and computer networks. “Computer ethics” also has been used to refer to a kind of professional ethics in which computer professionals apply codes of ethics and standards of good practice within their profession. In addition, names such as “cyberethics” and “Internet ethics” have been used to refer to computer ethics issues associated with the Internet. In the mid 1940s, innovative developments in science and philosophy led to the creation of a new branch of ethics that would later be called “computer ethics” or “information ethics”. The founder of this new philosophical field was the American scholar Norbert Wiener, a professor of mathematics and philosophy at MIT. The issues that he identified included topics that are still important today: computers and security, computers and unemployment, responsibilities of computer professionals, computers for persons with disabilities, information networks and globalization, virtual communities, teleworking, merging of human bodies with machines, robot ethics, artificial intelligence, computers and religion, and a number of other subjects. Studies into issues of computer and information ethics clearly show that the arrival of new technologies give new twists to old ethical issues. Beginning with the computer ethics works of Norbert Wiener, a common thread has run through much of the history of computer
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