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Identify four values that are associated essay

The Moral Challenges of Information Technology The move from one set of dominant information technologies to another is always morally contentious. Socrates lived during the long transition from a largely oral tradition to a newer information technology consisting of writing down words and information and collecting those writings into scrolls and books. Famously Socrates was somewhat antagonistic to writing and he never wrote anything down himself.

Socrates tells a fable of an Egyptian God he names Theuth who gives the gift of writing to a king named Thamus. Thamus is not pleased with the gift and replies, If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks.

Phaedrus, section 275a Socrates, who was adept at quoting lines from poems and epics and placing them into his conversations, fears that those who rely on writing will never be able to truly understand and live by these words.

For Socrates there is something immoral or false about writing. Books can provide information but they cannot, by themselves, give you the wisdom you need to use or deeply understand that information. Conversely, in an oral tradition you do not simply consult a library, you are the library, you are a living manifestation of the information you know by heart.

For Socrates, reading a book is nowhere near as insightful as talking with its author.

Information Technology and Moral Values

Written words, …seem to talk to you as though they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say, from a desire to be instructed, they go on telling you the same thing forever. His criticism of writing at first glance may seem humorous but the temptation to use recall and call it memory is getting more and more prevalent in modern information technologies.

Why learn anything when information is just an Internet search away? In order to avoid Socrates' worry, information technologies should do more than just provide access to information; they should also help foster wisdom and understanding as well.

What he could not have known then was how often we would have to update the social contract as these technologies rapidly change. Information technologies change quickly and move in and out of fashion at a bewildering pace.

  1. It is not clear if this decline is directly attributable to information technology use but it may be a contributing factor. The so-called regality theory finds that war and other perceived collective dangers have a profound influence on both the psychology of individuals and on the social structure and cultural values.
  2. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009 , at p. ALife is inspired by the work of the mathematician John von Neumann on self-replicating cellular automata, which von Neumann believed would lead to a computational understanding of biology and the life sciences 1966.
  3. Stephen Breyer, Active Liberty.

This makes it difficult to try to list them all and catalog the moral impacts of each. The very fact that this change is so rapid and momentous has caused some to argue that we need to deeply question the ethics of the process of developing emerging technologies Moor 2008.

Publications

It has also been argued that the ever morphing nature of information technology is changing our ability to even fully understand moral values as they change. The legal theorist Larry Lessig warns that the pace of change in information technology is so rapid that it leaves the slow and deliberative process of law and political policy behind and in effect these technologies become lawless, or extralegal. This is due to the fact that by the time a law is written to curtail, for instance, some form of copyright infringement facilitated by a particular file sharing technology, that technology has become out of date and users are on to something else that facilitates copyright infringement Lessig 1999.

  • One of the keys is in the phrase we quoted above from the DA pamphlet;
  • They are more than words-they are the moral, ethical, and professional attributes of character;
  • The difficulty in obtaining complete digital security rests in the fact that security is antithetical to the moral values of sharing and openness that guided many of the early builders of information technology;
  • Artificial Life ALife is a project that is not as old as AI and is focused on developing information technologies and or synthetic biological technologies that exhibit life functions typically found only in biological entities;
  • Ask questions to guide your kids in figuring out what they would like to do to make things better;
  • Aristotle argued that humans realize a good and true life though virtuous friendships.

But even given this rapid pace of change it remains the case that information technologies or applications can all be categorized identify four values that are associated essay at least three different types each of which we will look at below.

For example, a book is a record of information, a telephone is used to communicate information, and the Dewey decimal system organizes information. Many information technologies can accomplish more than one of the above functions and, most notably, the computer can accomplish all of them since it can be described as a universal machine see the entry on computability and complexityso it can be programmed to emulate any form of information technology.

In section 2 we will look at some specific example technologies and applications from each of the three types of information technology listed above and track the moral challenges that arise out of the use and design of these specific technologies. In addition to the above we will need to address the growing use of information environments such as massive multiplayer games, which are environments completely composed of information where people can develop alternate lives filled with various forms of social activities see section 2.

Finally we will look at not only how information technology impacts our moral intuitions but also how it might be changing the very nature of moral reasoning. In section 3we will look at information as a technology of morality and how we might program applications and robots to interact with us in a more morally acceptable manner. As was mentioned above, each of us produces a vast amount of information every day that could be recorded and stored as useful data to be accessed later when needed.

But moral conundrums arise when that collection, storage and use of our information is done by third parties without our knowledge or done with only our tacit consent.

The control of information is power. The social institutions that have traditionally exercised this power are things like, religious organizations, universities, libraries, healthcare officials, government agencies, banks and corporations.

  1. The moral challenge here is to determine when these attacks are considered a severe enough challenge to the sovereignty of a nation to justify military reactions and to react in a justified and ethical manner to them Arquilla 2010; Denning 2008, Kaspersky Lab 2011.
  2. Public policies almost always deal with very complex issues, where ethical choices are rarely clear, and it is often difficult to determine if a policy is right or wrong.
  3. All searches are filtered to some degree in order to ensure that the information the search provider believes is most important to the user is listed first.
  4. As well as allowing us to take seriously the idea that the relations and transactions between human agents and those that exist between humans and their artifacts have important ontological similarities.
  5. The system must be capable of reflecting the aspirations of the people.

These entities have access to stored information that gives them a certain amount of power over their customers and constituencies. Today each citizen has access to more and more of that stored information without the necessity of utilizing the traditional mediators of that information and therefore a greater individual share of social power see Lessig 1999. One of the great values of modern information technology is that it makes the recording of information easy, and in some cases, it is done automatically.

This type of data collection could become more automated in the near future. There are already applications that use the GPS tracking available in many phones to track the length and duration of a user's walk or run. How long until a smartphone collects a running data stream of your blood pressure throughout the day perhaps tagged with geo-location markers of particularly high or low readings?

Value (ethics)

In one sense this could be immensely powerful data that could lead to much healthier lifestyle choices. But it could also be a serious breach in privacy if the information got into the wrong hands which would be easily accomplished since third parties have access to information collected on smartphones and online applications. In the next section identify four values that are associated essay.

But here we must address a more subtle privacy breach, the collection and recording of data about a user without his or her knowledge or consent. When searching on the Internet, browser software records all manner of data about our visits to various websites which can, for example, make webpages load faster next time you visit them.

Even the websites themselves use various means to record information when your computer has accessed them and they may leave bits of information on your computer which the site can use the next time you visit. Some websites are able to detect which other sites you have visited or which pages on the website you spend the most time on.

If someone were following you around a library noting down this kind of information you might find it uncomfortable or hostile, but online this kind of behavior takes place behind the scenes and is barely noticed by the casual user.

According to some professionals, information technology has all but eliminated the private sphere. Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems famously announced in 1999: Helen Nissenbaum observes that, [w]here previously, physical barriers and inconvenience might have discouraged all but the most tenacious from ferreting out information, technology makes this available at the click of a button or for a few dollars Nissenbaum 1997 and since the time when she wrote this the gathering of data has become more automated and cheaper.

Clearly, earlier theories of privacy that assumed the inviolability of physical walls no longer apply but as Nissenbaum argues, personal autonomy and intimacy require us to protect privacy nonetheless Nissenbaum 1997.

Why values are important

This ease of access has the result of also making the relationship one has to one's own data more tenuous because of the uncertainty about the physical location of that data. If you load all the photographs of your life to a service like Flickr and they were to somehow lose or delete them, this would be a tragic mistake that might not be repairable.

The primary moral values of concern are privacy, ownership, trust and the veracity of the information being communicated.

Who has the final say whether or not some information about a user is communicated or not? Who is allowed to sell your medical records, your financial records, your friend list, your browser history, etc.? If you do not have control over this process, then how can you claim a right to privacy? For instance Alan Westin argued in the very early decades of digital information technology that control of access to one's personal information was the key to maintaining privacy Westin 1967.

It follows that if we care about privacy, then we should give all the control of access to personal information to the individual. Most corporate entities resist this notion as information about users has become a primary commodity in the digital world boosting the fortunes of corporations like Google or Facebook.

What Are Your Family's Top 5 Moral Values?

There is a great deal of utility each of us gains from the services of internet search companies. It might actually be a fair exchange that they provide search results for free based on collecting data from individual user behavior that helps them rank the results. This service comes with advertising that is directed at the user based on his or her search history. That is, each user tacitly agrees to give up some privacy whenever they use the service.

If we follow the argument raised above that privacy is equivalent to information control then we do seem to be ceding our privacy away little by little. Herman Tavani and James Moor 2004 argue that in some cases giving the user more control of their information may actually result in greater loss of privacy.

Their primary argument is that no one can actually control all of the information about oneself that is produced each day. If we focus only on the little bit we can control, we lose site of the vast mountains of data we cannot Tavani and Moor 2004. Tavani and Moor argue that privacy must be recognized by the third parties that do control your information and only if those parties have a commitment to protecting user privacy will we actually have any real privacy and towards this end they suggest that we think in terms of restricted access to information rather than strict control of personal information Tavani and Moor 2004.

Information security is also an important moral value that impacts the communication and access of user information.

If we grant the control of our information to third parties in exchange for the services they provide, then these entities must also be responsible for restricting the access to that information by identify four values that are associated essay who might use it to harm us see Epstein 2007; Magnani 2007; Tavani 2007. With enough information, a person's entire identity might be stolen and used to facilitate fraud and larceny.

The victims of these crimes can have their lives ruined as they try to rebuild such things as their credit rating and bank accounts. This has led to the design of computer systems that are more difficult to access and the growth of a new industry dedicated to securing computer systems.

The difficulty in obtaining complete digital security rests in the fact that security is antithetical to the moral values of sharing and openness that guided many of the early builders of information technology. So it seems that information technology has a strong dissonance created in the competing values of security and openness based on the competing values of the people designing the technologies themselves. This conflict in values has been debated by philosophers.

  • Equity and fairness are important considerations, but not always easy to discern;
  • And this phenomenon is not limited to computer chips but is also present in all information technologies;
  • Willbern contends that compromise, rather than standing on principle, is moral, because without compromise there will be discord and conflict, and disintegration rather than integration of the society.

While many of the hackers interviewed by Levy argue that hacking is not as dangerous as it seems and that it is mostly about gaining knowledge of how systems work, Eugene Spafford counters that no computer break-in is entirely harmless and that the harm precludes the possibility of ethical hacking except in the most extreme cases Spafford 2007. Mark Manion and Abby Goodrum agree that hacktivism could be a special case of ethical hacking but warn that it should proceed in accordance to the moral norms set by the acts of civil disobedience that marked the twentieth century or risk being classified as online terrorism Manion and Goodrum 2007.

What information technology adds to these long standing moral debates is the nearly effortless access to information that others might want to control such as intellectual property, dangerous information and pornography Floridi 1999along with the anonymity of both the user and those providing access to the information Nissenbaum 1999; Sullins 2010.

For example, even though cases of bullying and stalking occur regularly, the anonymous and remote actions of cyber-bullying and cyberstalking make these behaviors much easier and the perpetrator less likely to be caught. Arguably, this makes these unethical behaviors on cyberspace more likely that the design of cyberspace itself tacitly promotes unethical behavior Adams 2002; Grodzinsky and Tavani 2002.

Since the very design capabilities of information technology influence the lives of their users, the moral commitments of the designers of these technologies may dictate the course society will take and our commitments to certain identify four values that are associated essay values Brey 2010; Bynum 2000; Ess 2009; Johnson 1985; Magnani 2007; Moor 1985; Spinello 2001; Sullins 2010. Assuming we are justified in granting access to some store of information that we may be in control of, there is a duty to ensure that that information is useful and accurate.

If you use a number of different search engines to try to find some bit of information, each of these searches will vary from one another. This shows that not all searches are equal and it matters which search provider you use. All searches are filtered to some degree in order to ensure that the information the search provider believes is most important to the user is listed first. A great deal of trust is placed in this filtering process and the actual formulas used by search providers are closely held trade secrets.

The hope is that these decisions are morally justifiable but it is difficult to know. If we are told a link will take us to one location on the web yet when we click it we are taken to some other place, the user may feel that this is a breach of trust. Again the anonymity and ease of use that information technology provides can facilitate deceitful practices. Pettit 2009 suggests that this should cause us to reevaluate the role that moral values such as trust and reliance play in a world of information technology.

Lastly in this section we must address the impact that the access to information has on social justice. Information technology was largely developed in the Western industrial societies during the twentieth century. But even today the benefits of this technology have not spread evenly around the world and to all socioeconomic demographics. Certain societies and social classes have little to no access to the information easily available to those in more well off and in developed nations, and identify four values that are associated essay of those who have some access have that access heavily censored by their own governments.

John Weckert also notes that cultural differences in giving and taking offence play a role in the design of more egalitarian information technologies Weckert 2007. Norbert Wiener first developed a theory of automated information synthesis which he called Cybernetics Wiener 1961 [1948].

Wiener realized that a machine could be designed to gather information about the world, derive logical conclusions about that information which would imply certain actions, which the machine could then implement, all without any direct input form a human agent. Wiener quickly saw that if his vision of cybernetics was realized, there would be tremendous moral concerns raised by such machines which he outlined in his book the Human Use of Human Beings Wiener 1950.