Ethics is the study of the value system that judges an action either "right" or "wrong." In other words, ethics consists of the accepted rules of behavior and the resulting expectations of the community. Technology is the scientific application of knowledge to solve a problem or reach an objective. Historically, technology has always challenged the accepted ethics of a time period. Today's challenge is the rapid introduction of new computer technology and how it affects our evolving redefinition of community.
Although the study and discussion of ethics has a long history, that history is still being written today. Ethical decisions and considerations are still determined by the community. It is not too soon for students to lead and participate in discussions about the impact of new technologies on ethical dilemmas and decisions.
Bill Gates was 19 and Paul Allen was 21 when they began writing the code that was the foundation for Microsoft.
Steve Wozniak at 26 and Steve Jobs at 21 built computers the became Apple.
Michael Dell was 18 when he began building computers in his dorm room at the University of Texas.
Shawn Fanning (Napster) was 19 when he wrote the code for music file sharing.
This module should provide a starting point for an active and engaged discussion of the impact students have had and are having as the technology changes and the definition of our community continues to broaden in scope.
The purpose of this module is to:
Provide some historical markers for the discussion of ethics.
Provide opportunities to examine traditional ethics against the backdrop of an evolving and fluid world community.
Provide resources for exploration by individual students and by groups in the classroom.
This module will examine:
The impact of past technological developments on the community discussion of ethics.
How contemporary changes in technology are generating discussion.
The issues confronting our community as we move toward the future.
“Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should do it.”