The Foundation of Computer Ethics

The Foundation of Computer Ethics

  • Submitted By: dev619
  • Date Submitted: 01/21/2009 9:26 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 672
  • Page: 3
  • Views: 876


The Foundation of Computer Ethics

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 engineering at MIT. During the Second World War, together with colleagues in America and Great Britain, Wiener helped to develop electronic computers and other new and powerful information technologies. Even while the War was raging, Wiener foresaw enormous social and ethical implications of cybernetics combined with electronic computers.

In 1976, nearly three decades after the publication of Wiener's book Cybernetics, Walter Maner noticed that the ethical questions and problems considered in his Medical Ethics course at Old Dominion University often became more complicated or significantly altered when computers got involved. He concluded that there should be a new branch of applied ethics similar to already existing fields like medical ethics and business ethics; and he decided to name the proposed new field “computer ethics”.

Walter Maner first coined the term “computer ethic” in the mid 1970s, but only since the 1990s has it started being integrated into professional development programs in academic settings. The conceptual foundations of computer ethics are investigated by information ethics, a branch of philosophical ethics established by Luciano Floridi. Computer ethics is a very important topic in computer applications.

Need of computer ethics

• The growth of the WWW has created several novel legal issues

• The existence of new questions that older laws cannot answer

• Traditional laws are outdated/anachronistic in this world

• A more coherent body of law is needed to govern Internet and computers

Ethics, in the classical sense, refers to the rules and...

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