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Topic 1: Moore’s contention is that the central task of computer ethics in decision-making processes that involve computer technology should be to “determine what should be done” whenever there is a policy vacuum. Moore first observed that there are times when policy vacuums are created in the decision-making processes, especially those that involve processes in which computer technology is “essentially involved.”
It is difficult to fully explain the cause of these vacuums, but one can say that they are mainly caused by the “confusion” between the known policies and what is presented. Moore tries to explain these muddles by a software example. As software can either be a product in which case patent laws apply, or it can be a service where no intellectual property laws apply. The multiplicity of choices like this, presented to a decision maker by computer technology, can result in policy vacuums. Several other factors contribute to the creation of these muddles. It is likely that computer users, especially computer professionals, may be unprepared to deal effectively with the ethical issues that arise in their places of work and everywhere else computers and computer-related technology is used.
So, naturally, one would come to the conclusion that since we cannot stop computer technology that causes these muddles, we need a plan of action that will work with the changing computing technology and at the same time deal with the ethical issues that do arise. We need computer ethics education. There are two schools of thought on this subject. One school believes in the study of computer ethics as remedial moral education. The other school believes in computer ethics education not as a moral education but as a field worthy of study in its own right. But for it to exist as a separate independent field of study, there must be a unique domain for computer ethics distinct from the domain for moral education, distinct even from the domains of other kinds of professional and applied ethics. [Source: Kizza J.M. History of Computing. In: Ethical and Social Issues in the Information Age, 2010, Texts in Computer Science. Springer, London]
Investigate and report on the ethical issues raised in this case and link your answers to the questions listed below:
1. Discuss the reasons why it is good to study computer ethics.
2. Walter Maner believes that computer ethics education should not be given purely as a remedial moral education. Do you agree? Discuss.
3. Give support to the argument that computer ethics must be taken as a remedial moral course.