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IT Levels of Computer Ethics

Social and Professional Issues (IT)
Lesson no. 4
Three “Levels” of Computer Ethics
Computer Ethics questions can be raised and studied at various “levels.”
And each level is vital to the overall goal of protecting and advancing human
values. On the most basic level, computer ethics tries to sensitize people to the
fact that computer technology has social and ethical consequences.
This is the overall goal of what some call “POP” computer ethics.
Newspapers, magazines and TV news programs have engaged increasingly in
computer ethics of this sort. Every week, there are news stories about computer
viruses, or software ownership law suits, or computer-aided bank robbery, or
harmful computer malfunctions, or computerized weapons, etc. As the social
impact of information technology grows, such articles will proliferate. That’s
good! The public at large should be sensitized to the fact that computer
technology can threaten human values as well as advance them.
The second “level” of computer ethics can be called “PARA” computer
ethics. Someone who takes a special interest in computer ethics cases, collects
examples, clarifies them, looks for similarities and differences, reads related
works, attends relevant events, and so on, is learning “para” computer ethics. By
analogy with a para medic—who is not a physician, but who does have some
technical medical knowledge—a “para” computer ethicist is not a professional
ethicist, but does have some relevant special knowledge. A para medic of course,
cannot do all that a physician does, but he or she can make preliminary medical
assessments, administer first aid and provide rudimentary medical assistance.
Similarly, a “para” computer ethicist does not attempt to apply the tools and
procedures of a professional philosopher or lawyer or social scientist. Rather, he
or she makes preliminary assessments and identifications of computer ethics
cases, compares them with others, suggests possible analyses.
The third level of computer ethics I call “THEORETICAL” computer ethics
because it applies scholarly theories to computer ethics cases and concepts.
Someone proficient in “theoretical” computer ethics would be able not only to
identify, clarify, compare and contrast computer ethics cases; she or he could also
apply theories and tools from philosophy, social science or law in order to deepen
our understanding of the issues. Such theoretical computer ethics is normally
taught in college-level courses with titles like “Computer Ethics,” “Computers and
Society,” “Computers and the Law.”
All three “levels of analysis” are important to the goal of advancing and
defending human values. Voters and public at large for example, should be
sensitive to the social and ethical consequences of information technology.
Computer professionals and public policy makers should have “para” computer
ethics skills and knowledge in order to do their jobs effectively. And scholars must
continue to deepen our understanding of the social and ethical impact of
computing by engaging in theoretical analysis and research. In reality, of course,
none of these three levels of computer ethics is cleanly separated from the
others. One blends gradually into the next.
Social Networking Sites
The Philippines is still the Social Media Capital of the World.
Filipinos are using social media platforms 53 hours a week. That is a whole
11 hours more than the global average of 42 hours!
In the global study called WAVE 7, Filipinos are using social media to
primarily connect with their families living overseas. In 2015, there are more than
11 million Filipinos living outside the Philippines. Social media has become a way
for them to communicate with their families and friends instead of using overseas
call and text, which are the traditional ways of communication.
In the past, local telcos usually have ongoing overseas and text promotions
which are actually quite expensive.
Philippines is the social media capital. As a proof, Makati City takes the
most selfies than anywhere in the world. As Internet penetration increases in the
Philippines, it seems that Filipinos have grown fond of using various apps. With
social media, the barrier to communications between families separated by
countries have diminished, and only the country’s total social activity has
Reference: Social, Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues in Computing by Dr.