Books  |    |  November 14, 2002

Computers, Ethics, and Society, 3rd edition

Edited by M. David Ermann and Michele S. Shauf.
Published by Oxford University Press.
256 pages.

In today’s world, computers can have complex and contradictory effects on human life. They can enhance our quality of life by creating access to previously unimagined worlds. On the other hand, as computers become increasingly important in our everyday lives, their potential to strip away our privacy and autonomy increases exponentially. Computers, Ethics, and Society, now in its third edition, offers a comprehensive, interdisciplinary set of readings on the ethical and social implications of computer technology. Taking into account technological, social, and philosophical issues, the contributors consider topics such as the work-related ramifications of automation, the ethical obligations of computer specialists, and the threats to privacy that come with increased computerization.

Thoroughly up-to-date in its coverage, this collection includes articles on specific ethical dilemmas related to contemporary issues and events. Essays new to the third edition cover such topics as cyber-terrorism, the ethics of downloading music from Internet sites, and the question of whether human beings may someday be “replaced” by artificial intelligence and computer technology. An ideal text for sociology, philosophy, and computer science courses, Computers, Ethics, and Society, 3/e, reminds students that although technology has the potential to improve or undermine our quality of life, societal forces ultimately have the power to decide how computers will affect our lives.

Table of Contents

Ethical Contexts
Philosophical Ethics

  • The Best Action Is the One with the Best Consequences — John Hospers
  • The Best Action Is the One in Accord with Universal Rules — James Rachels
  • The Best Action Is the One that Exercises the Mind’s Faculties — Aristotle

Professional Ethics

  • ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct — Association for Computing Machinery
  • Using the ACM Code — Ronald E. Anderson, Deborah G. Johnson, Donald Gotterbaum, Judith Perrolle
  • Can We Find a Single Ethical Code? — Robert N. Barger
  • The Morality of Whistle-Blowing — Sissela Bok
  • The Ethics of Systems Design — Batya Friedman and Peter H. Kahn, Jr.
  • Are Hacker Break-ins Ethical? — Eugene H. Spafford
  • Using Computers As Means, Not Ends — Herbert L. Dreyfus and Stuart E. Dreyfus with Tom Athanasion

Historical and Cultural Contexts

  • Technology Is a Tool of the Powerful — Philip Bereano
  • A History of the Personal Computer — Robert Pool
  • Informing Ourselves to Death — Neil Postman
  • Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us — Bill Joy
  • Boolean Logic — Michael Heim

Social Contexts

  • Privacy in a Database Nation — Simson Garfinkel
  • The GNU Manifesto — Richard M. Stallman
  • Crossing the Digital Divide — Jessica Brown
  • Gender Bias in Instructional Technology — Katy Campbell
  • Computers and the Work Experience — Anthony M. Townsend
  • Information Technologies and Our Changing Economy — Martin Camoy
  • Music: Intellectual Property’s Canary in the Digital Coal Mine — National Research Council
  • The Case for Collective Violence — Craig Summers and Eric Markusen
  • Activism, Hacktivism, and Cyberterrorism — Dorothy E. Denning