Morality and Ethics and Computers
There are many different sides to the discussion on moral and ethical uses of
computers. In many situations, the morality of a particular use of a computer is up to the
individual to decide. For this reason, absolute laws about ethical computer usage is
almost, but not entirely, impossible to define.
The introduction of computers into the workplace has introduced many questions
as well: Should employers make sure the workplace is designed to minimize health risks
such as back strain and carpal tunnel syndrome for people who work with computers?
Can employers prohibit employees from sending personal memos by electronic mail to a
friend at the other side of the office? Should employers monitor employees' work on
computers? If so, should employees be warned beforehand? If warned, does that make
the practice okay? According to Kenneth Goodman, director of the Forum for Bioethics
and Philosophy at the University of Miami, who teaches courses in computer ethics,
'There's hardly a business that's not using computers.'1
This makes these questions all
the more important for today's society to answer.
There are also many moral and ethical problems dealing with the use of computers
in the medical field. In one particular case, a technician trusted what he thought a
computer was telling him, and administered a deadly dose of radiation to a hospital
patient.2 In cases like these, it is difficult to decide who's fault it is. It could have been the
computer programmer's fault, but Goodman asks, 'How much responsibility can you place
on a machine?'3
Many problems also occur when computers are used in education. Should
computers replace actual teachers in the classroom? In some schools, computers and
computer manuals have already started to replace teachers. I would consider this an
unethical use of computers because...