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Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

(OP)
I found this on Salon.com.

Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

I have a hard time with this. How to you prevent a high school kid or college undergrad from writing and distributing the next cool application? If I want to design, fabricate and install a tank containing methyl-isocyanate sixty feet above my property, all sorts of building and labour codes kick and and require me to get drawings stamped and sealed by professional engineers. If I work around the system and create a hazard, it will be pretty obvious.

--
JHG

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

No one forces anyone to use some random coder's software. 35 years after I first ran across a 419 scam email, people are still clicking on random and seemingly legit emails. At some level, personal responsibility needs to be enforced. If you can't be bothered to protect yourself, why should we force other people to protect you?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

(OP)
IRstuff,

Fraud is a problem. Buggy software is a problem. Poorly thought out concepts are yet another problem. I refrained from forwarding this XKCD comic because they are concerned with bugginess, and I think the big issue with voting machines is accountability. People who build and manage voting machines are tempted to cheat. The programmers must refrain from cheating, and they must account for anyone who operates the machines who may be inclined to cheat.

--
JHG

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

"Fraud is a problem. Buggy software is a problem. Poorly thought out concepts are yet another problem."

This is a concern of all products, not just software; not unlike the $600 juicer that was mentioned in a thread a while ago, or Volkswagen juicing their results, or Lance Armstrong, juicing himself.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

Quote:

How to you prevent a high school kid or college undergrad from writing and distributing the next cool application?

Why would anyone want to stifle innovation or competition? The only answer I've ever been given to that question is to protect one's own income when someone's lousy at their job and cannot compete.

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

Quote (CWB1)

Why would anyone want to stifle innovation or competition? The only answer I've ever been given to that question is to protect one's own income when someone's lousy at their job and cannot compete.
How about an app that runs on your phone that collects all of your personal information? Of course wrapped in a layer of a neat game.

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

I believe its called smart device ownership, if you want the benefits you have to deal with the costs. If you dont want your personal info collected then you'd better buy an old phone, old vehicle, not use any electronic services, and either stay inside or live in the sticks.

Says the guy with an electronic dog tag that "should" still be in his arm.

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

This has been mankind's dilemma for millennia, not just in the world of modern technology. Everyone is looking for an advantage over the next guy, and sometimes ethical and legal lines are blurred, and sometimes the ethics vary from person to person, and sometimes the ethics just aren't there. It's human nature to want to win, whatever the race, whatever the prize. Eve partook of the fruit offered her by the serpent, because she wanted the advantage it offered.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

Programmers? I always thought their bosses need ethics.

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

(OP)

Quote (CWB1)



Why would anyone want to stifle innovation or competition? The only answer I've ever been given to that question is to protect one's own income when someone's lousy at their job and cannot compete.

The article is suggesting that programming be limited to ethical professionals. The upfront cost to becoming a software developer is an old computer upon which you can install Linux. This is way cheaper and less physically risky then learning to fix and build cars, build aircraft, and bridges. I was merely pointing out the logistics.

--
JHG

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

The article completely misses the point about the gross majority of privacy breaches, which was NOT the ethics of the programmers, but rather the inability to test all possible attack vectors, present and future, before issuing the product. "Inability" includes excessively complex/long testing, OS updates that have unintended consequences, and inability of the programmer to visualize all possible attack vectors. There are limitations to the amount of time one can consume in testing a product; almost no product is tested through every possible variation or combination of inputs and environments; the product might be completely obsolete before the testing can be completed.

I can be perfectly ethical, but I might be unable to recognize that a buffer overflow might crash the interface into accepting commands that are normally blocked. I can be perfectly ethical, but I can forget to update my firmware.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

Quote:

The article is suggesting that programming be limited to ethical professionals. The upfront cost to becoming a software developer is an old computer upon which you can install Linux. This is way cheaper and less physically risky then learning to fix and build cars, build aircraft, and bridges.

It is? There are many in the auto and aerospace industries whose upfront cost to engineering is tinkering in the garage and teaching themselves solid modeling.

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

(OP)
IRstuff,

Competence and due diligence are part of engineering ethics.

CWB1,

There is an upfront cost to the product developer. I learned to fix bicycles basically by destroying a cheap bicycle. I have a hard time believing that a repairable car or aircraft (plus new parts) will cost less than a second hand computer.

--
JHG

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

Whatever it is, force them to buy it on a subscription basis and you will have them where you want them.

RE: Programmers need ethics when designing the technologies that influence people’s lives

Personally I learned to work on vehicles in the family shop with no upfront cost to me, but regardless, I struggle a bit with generalizing and correlating such subjective topics. Qualification, ability, and ethical behavior are all independent variables with absolutely no correlation.

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