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Students in computer ethics classes at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez have looked into the feasibility of integrating laptops in the public school socio-technical system in Puerto Rico. They began by looking at the project to provide public school teachers with laptops that was carried out in the late 1990's under the Pedro Rossello administration. The student research projects came to focus on three problem areas. First, they examined whether there were structures in laptop design that made computers unfit for use by children. Second, they studied whether social or ethical problems would arise from disposal of spent laptops. Third, they investigated the impact on copyright law and intellectual property practices that digitalizing printed textbooks would have.

What you are going to do...

Decision point one

  • You are a computer engineer and have been subcontracted by your local government to purchase new portable ocmputers for high school teachers. Your job includes...
  • selecting the kind of computer to be used
  • identifying vendors who will sell the computers
  • overseeing the distribution of computers to high school teachers
  • developing an implementing a training program to help teachers learn to use computers
  • designing a technical support hotline to help teacher work out any technical problems that may arise

Distributing computers to high school teachers seems simple enough. You select the computers, buy them, and give them to the teachers. Yet only a slight change in circumstances can bring into the open latent or potential ethical issues:

  • How should you go about setting up the bidding process to determine the computers to be used?
  • What should you do to determine teacher and student needs and how computers can respond to these needs? It makes very little sense to provide computers and then tell teachers and students to use them. What are they to do with these computers? How do they fit them into everyday education? This requires seeing the computer project from the standpoints of students, their parents, and teachers. The reversibility test will help here.
  • Who stands to benefit from your actions? Who stands to be harmed from these actions? How will benefits and harms be distributed through the different stakeholders in this case?
  • Latent ethical problems exist in this socio-technical system that can erupt into full-blown problems with small changes in circumstances
  • Someone you know well--say your cousin--submits a bid. What ethical issues does this turn of events give rise to?
  • The contract to provide computers is awarded to you cousin, and he provides reliable computers at a reasonable price. The, a few weeks later, you read the following headline in the newspaper: "More Government Corruption--Computer Czar's Cousin Counts Millions in Cozy Computer Contract" What do you do now?
  • A group of angry high school teachers holds a press conference in which they accuse the government of forcing them to use computing technology in their classes. They say you are violating their academic freedom. How should you respond?
  • Someone in the government suggesting placing a program in each computer that allows government officials to monitor the computers and track user behavior. How would you feel if your computer use were being monitored without your knowledge or consent>Are their circumstances under which monitoring could bring about any social benefits? What are the likely harms? Do the benefits outweigh the harms? Suppose you go along with this and read the following headline in the morning newspaper: "Government Snoops B ug High School computers" . Using the publicity test, what kind of person would you appear to be in the public's eye? How would you view yourself in terms of this action?

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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Source:  OpenStax, Business ethics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 04, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10491/1.11
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