Ethical Decision Making

Ethical Decision Making

There is a lot of power in computer science professionals because of their knowledge in computers and technology. Not everyone can read a source code of a program and understand how systems work. Especially also having the ability to modify code to improve or fix it to their liking. Programmers are also able to create software to automate daily tasks for themselves, for work, or for family and friends. Whatever the use may be, it is important that coders of all levels understand and practice ethical decision making during their practice.

It is important to always consider the 5W’s and 1H: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Programmers can rephrase the question in any way they want to cover as much considerable ground as possible. For example:

  • What is the problem to be solved? What type of program is it? What type of industry? What type of data is required?
  • Who is the program for? Whose data will it need? Will the program collect user data?
  • Where will the program be used? Where is the data being stored?
  • When will the program be used? Is there periodic data purge or backup?
  • Why is this program being made? Why does it have specific features? Why does it require certain data sets?
  • How will this program affect me? How is the program being used? How is the program being shared?

This is a very simple method to figure out the stakes involved with in the process. Programmers can assign values to each question and even prioritize on impact whether it’s for productivity or societal. Can you think of another ethical decision-making method? How does it help assess moral principals? How do you determine and assign ethical values? At the end of the day, programs will always function as they are designed to. It is up to the person’s decision to create and to use it.

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