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Page history last edited by Sandra Maguad 10 years, 1 month ago


Chapter 2- Milestones in the History of Information

and Computer Ethics

Quote: "

There is little attention paid to the domain of professional ethics—the values that guide

the day-to-day activities of computing professionals in their role as professionals. By

computing professional I mean anyone involved in the design and development of

computer artefacts . . .. The ethical decisions made during the development of these

artifacts have a direct relationship to many of the issues discussed under the broader

concept of computer ethics. -Gotternbarn"

What I expect to learn:

1. The history of information ethics

2. The peoople behind the development of information ethics

3. The important events during the time information ethics was being developed


Information Ethics was developed by a philosopher and scientist Norbert Wiener with a group of scientists and engineers. It was made unintentionally and almost accidentally in the middle of the World War II. Wiener predicted that after the war, the new information technology will be introduced and will change the world. He also said that the technology that they are creating would have "enormous potential for good and evil". He also said that the technology would generate a staggering number of new ethical challenges and opportunities.

Nowadays, the ideas that Weiner invented can still be used to identify, analyze and resolve the problems of the society. Since, his ideas and methods are applicable to all information technology, the term "information ethics" became an apt name for the field that he founded. So, the term "computer ethics" is just a subfield of Wiener's information ethics. The foundation was based upon a cyberbetic view of the human nature and society that leads to the suggestive purpose of human life. In doing this, he created the "great principles of justice" which includes the principle of freedom, principle of equality and principle of Benevolence.

Also, according to Wiener, for us to live well, we must be free to engage in creative and flexible actions. People have different levels of talent and possibilities. A person's achievement will be different to another person's achievement.

Walter Maner is the one who coined the name "computer ethics". There are some incident that involves computer crimes during the 1960's and early 1970's. According to Maner, computers trigger ethical problems. Some became worse while others was just recognized since computers were invented. I think Maner just want to blame computing technology but these computers does not have its own mind that can think. The crimes still depends on the person who is using it. Deborah Johnson was strucked by Maner's claim because she disagree with this so she wrote a book about Computer Ethics. This book covered topics about the ownership of software and intellectual property, computing and privacy, responsibility of computer professionals, and the just distribution of technology and human power. Johnson said that there are "new species of old moral issues" but they are not new ethical problems. Moor said that computing technology is genuinely revolutionary.


Donald Gotternbarn advocated a different understanding of the nature of computer ethics. He believed that computer ethics should be seen as a professional ethics devoted to the development and advancement of standards of good practice and codes of conduct for computing professionals.


What the human-values approach's effect was it served as the organizing theme for conferences about computer ethics. One is the National Conference in Computing and Values. It was devoted in examining the impacts of computing upon security, knowledge, freedom, property, privacy and opportunities. A new approach to computer-ethics was made during the late 1990's which is the value-sensitive computer design. It says that the problems about computer ethics can be avoided.


They are concerned for the protection and advancement of central human values such as health, security, life, happinness, knowledge, resources, power and opportunity. The cooperation among a "critical mass" of scholars are also important. This part describes some milestones in that important aspect of the history of computer ethics.

What I learned:

1. Information Ethics was created by Norbert Wiener during the World War II

2. Maner claimed that computer technology creates ethical problems but Johnson disagree with it

3. Computer Ethics Definition

4. Milestones in the important aspect of the history of computer ethics

5. The effect of human-values approach to computer ethics

Integrative Questions:

1. What is cybernetics?

2. What is Maner's claim?

3. Why did Deborah Johnson disagree with Maner's claim?

4. How the problems in computer ethics can be avoided?


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