Computers as tools for ethical decision making

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för informationsteknologi

Author: Christian Rick; [2015]

Keywords: ;

Abstract:

ew technology gives rise to new moral problems and dilemmas. We can therefore no longer be sure that our previously collected moral knowledge for dealing with everyday life situations applies to the new situations that arise as a consequence of modern technology. Thus we are forced to seek new answers and to re-examine the foundations of our moral reasoning. To find these new answers we need an autonomous approach to moral problem solving. Education can help increase the moral awareness in computer professionals by training them in disregarding moral fixations and automatic reactions, instead solving the problem using critical thinking and consideration of all values, interests, feelings, duties, needs, and beliefs of all those somehow involved. As a complement to education various support systems can be implemented to help professionals solve moral problems much in the same way as with normal problem solving. Some of these methods are suitable for computerization, creating a moral computer not as a moral authority or a set of guidelines but as an application that guides the user in a process of autonomy, helping the decision maker to make autonomous decisions. Three different approaches to creating a computerized tool for ethical decision- making were prototyped, tested, and evaluated resulting in an indication that such a tool has its merits and can offer benefits over a pen and paper method.

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