The purpose of this paper is to highlight and present the ethical issues that are involved in using modern technology. The paper highlights some of the current ethical issues faced by computer users that are due to unethical practice and lack of proper ethical policies by different businesses. The paper pinpoints the causes and gives recommendation on how the current issues can be minimized. A portion of this paper also consists of lawsuits that have recently occurred due to unethical practices adopted by businesses.
Ethics in Technology
We live in a modern era, the era of modern technology and innovation. Our lives are encircled by modern creations. These technology and advancement have surely brought comfort and ease in our life but unfortunately, the use of modern technology has also given rise to many ethical problems out of which few are a topic of discussion in this paper. The definition of ethics is 'Ethics are standards of moral conduct. Personal ethics guide one's personal life; business ethics provide the standard of conduct guiding business decision, and computer ethics provide the standards of conduct with respect to computers and computer use (Morley & Parker, 2009).
The most widely used modern technology is computer and there are many ethical issues rising due to people misusing this device. This paper highlights some of the problems faced by computer users assessing its impact as well as giving some policies that may help to overcome the alarming growth of ethical issue.
Different Issues Arising Due to Computer Usage
Cheating on Exams using Electronic Devices
Cheating is using unfair means to achieve anything. Cheating are used in different contexts but this paper discusses cheating and the use of electronic devices during cheating in educational context.
Cheating has been the most commonly used method adopted by students in order to get good grades in exams. The fear of being caught and being disqualified from exams is quite high, but this fear does not stop students from cheating during exams.
Cheating can deeply harm the overall process of education. Cheating undermines the use of assessment data as both indicators of student learning and sources of feedback for instructional planning (Anderman & Burton Murdock, 2007).
The act of cheating is quite common nowadays. According to CNN, a survey conducted on students declared that more every 7 in 10 students have been involved in cheating of sort during their academic life. Among the different methods used in cheating, the term plagiarism is quite popular. It is a using material from other sources and labeling your own name on it. Plagiarism is the so-called gift of technology. Students have access to millions of sites from where they can search materials for their assignment or reports, and can get flying colors without even knowing anything about the topic. Cheating during exams has been made easy my many new devices among which cell phones are most popular. Every latest cell phone is equipped internet, camera, and other accessories. All a student can do is search the info and write it on the answer sheet. Using headphones during exams is also quite popular in order to get help in getting answers. Identity Theft
Identity theft is a process through which a criminal gets access is the personal information of a person and uses it for his or her own benefits. Identity theft is most the most common crimes that are committed by using technology in a negative way. There were times when identity theft was very difficult. Criminals wasted hours in searching information for their victims. Unfortunately, there are some modern electronic devices, which have made this whole process of identity theft very easy.
According to the Bureau of Justice statics, around 23% American households faced identity theft at some time during 2010. This percentage is shocking as there has been an increase in the number of reports of identity thefts from 2005 which was 18%.
Robotics Replacing Man
Robotics is ne of the most amazing technological advancement that has occurred in the 21st century. The use of robotics in industry, especially the manufacturing industry is increasing day by day. There is no denying the fact that robotics have made production much more easy, error free and fast, but the harsh reality is that this replacement of man over robotics has deprived an apprentice from the pride of workmanship. The use of robotics has resulted in loss of jobs for people. Many blue chip companies like Mitsubishi General Electric, Toyota have replaced humans with robotics. For them, their production line and the degree of perfection is much more important than the value of human capital. A skilled worker is deprived form his job on the argument that a robot can produce 200% more pieces than human. Loss of jobs is blamed on unstable economy, while the fact is that automation is the main culprit that causes skilled workers to lose their jobs. The manufacturing industries along with agricultural industries are most affected by the robotics force. In addition to this, the minute jobs of assisting professionals in their work are all eliminated due to the use of robotics.
Artificial Intelligence usage in medicine and diagnosis
AI, the abbreviation for artificial intelligence is a topic that is very much in debate nowadays.
The ethical dilemmas associated with AI are quite complicated. A cyber doctor may be error free but it lacks the understanding of human emotions and the ability to learn from past events. When comparing the medical practices of a human practitioner with AI, one can easily understand that the term experience is missing from it. Humans learn from what they have witness and that help them to gain experience. On contrast, machines are programmed and do whatever they are programmed for, so the element of feeling, trust, credibility is missing from them .They will continue doing whatever is programmed in them and that can led to confusion. The ability to choose what is best for the patient along with respecting the inclinations of a patient is also lacking in medical practice of AI. The ethical problem that arises when a machine is involved in medical practice is numerous. The traditional relationship between a doctor and the patient, the feeling of a connection between them, a common understanding and trust are all ethical issues that are arising by incorporating technology in medicine.
Lawsuits due to Breaches in Computer Usage
Lawsuits that result in privacy issue are at its peak nowadays. The users files lawsuits against big companies because of the violation of their privacy in several instances. This year, LinkedIn, the world most famous professional network faced a similar lawsuit. A woman named Kitie Szpyrka sued the company as her password was hacked and published in a Russian website. LinkedIn defended them that only the passwords were hacked and the hackers cannot log in to the original user's account; however, the company had to face a remarkable 5 million dollar lawsuit.
Similarly, another instance was reported when woman named Maggie Campbell filed a lawsuit against eBay, the largest selling website. According to her, the company fails to provide protection to its users against the frauds who are involved in tricking the buyers. The case also involved PayPal, the most famous payment. In addition to it, the plaintiff also accused both the companies of spying at the personal computer of the users by installing spyware on their system which has access to the personal information of the user. She accused both the companies that they are invading the privacy of the users who are using this site to buy and sell stuff.
Another very interesting lawsuit was filed against Facebook. Facebook is the largest social network site and is very famous. A lawsuit was filed against Facebook, which consisted of 15 billion dollars. The lawsuit was that Facebook stalks its users when they are log in to their account as well as when they are logged out. Facebook has a very strict policy on privacy, and by invading the personal lives of their users, it seems that they are violating the policy created by them. It is unethical in every sense and is quite dangerous too, as the user personal information can be used for dangerous purposes also.
The above-mentioned lawsuits are a classic example of the lack of ethical policies in the businesses. Businesses have no clear-cut policies that would prevent them as well as their users from doing unethical conduct. The act of security breaches and privacy invasion are just lack of a proper code of conduct that should exist in business. EBay and Pay Pal would have prevented the lawsuit against them if they had respected the privacy of their users. The act of increasing their business and using the personal information of users is unethical. Further lawsuits against these big companies can be avoided if a proper ethical computer use policies such as respect for the privacy of users can be adopted.