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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 are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
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
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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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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