Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations, Lifehacker's weekly dip into the pool of stoic wisdom, and how you can use its waters to reflect on and improve your life. I'm filling in for Patrick Allan, and because it's Evil Week, I'm taking a break from the ancient Stoics and consulting Renaissance philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli.
Tagged With ethics
A panel hosted by the Australian Computer Society (ACS), featuring Liz Bacon (a past President British Computer Society), Marita Cheng (Founder/CEO of Aubot and winner of Young Australian of the Year), Mike Hinchey (from the International Federation for Information Processing) and Anthony Wong (current President of the ACS) discussed what AI is and how it will impact the IT industry and society.
Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.
One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.
The rise of the selfie has driven a rift into society, bringing up a surprising number of issues over gender, class, age, religion and race. Wired's Jason Parham explores some of these in "When the Selfie Turns Sacrilegious", an essay on taking selfies in sacred or serious places such as mosques and art installations.
Last week, a post written by programmer and teacher Bill Sourour went viral called "Code I'm Still Ashamed Of". In it he recounts a horrible story of being a young programmer that landed a job building a website for a pharmaceutical company. The whole post is worth a read, but the upshot is he was duped into helping the company skirt drug advertising laws in order to persuade young women to take a particular drug. He later found out the drug was known to worsen depression and at least one young woman committed suicide while taking it. He found out his sister was taking the drug and warned her off it.
Other programmers have since come out to share their own experiences.
You might think buying cage-free eggs is in the best interest of chickens, especially if it forces battery farmers to change their practices. The total abolition of caged poultry farms would be seen as a major moral victory; at least for the chickens. But what do the chickens think?
As a philosophy professor who’s worked on food issues for my entire career, I’ve come to believe that questions of animal welfare are more complicated than they seem at first glance. It’s not a clear choice which of the possible living conditions for egg-laying hens – furnished cages, cage-free systems, free-range setups – serve them the best.
Believe it or not, not all hackers are malicious. Ethical hackers are experts hired to support organizations and governments and keep their systems secure. These ethical hackers provide expertise to protect citizens and regular people from malicious hackers. We recently sat down with one to learn more about the most effective tactics and strategies you can use to protect yourself from malicious hackers.
The emissions scandal that has rocked the car maker Volkswagen has again raised the issue of ethical standards in the tech industry. Reports so far say the company is pointing finger at the “unlawful behaviour of engineers and technicians involved in engine development”. But that’s led to questions about the strength of any codes or practice or ethics that such operators are supposed to comply with. So are such codes any good or are they just words?
Many millions of people throughout the world will illegally download the fifth season of Game of Thrones, launched this week by HBO. Legally speaking, what they will be doing is a violation of intellectual property rights, or "piracy". But will they be doing anything morally wrong?
Australian households currently pay the second highest "honesty tax" in the world at $290 per household per year, levied by retailers to offset the $AU1.86 billion in losses they incur from customer theft.
We're all dimly aware that the smartphones, fitness trackers, tablets and consoles we spend hundreds of dollars on are assembled by workers where people are very poorly paid. A new analysis by Baptist World Aid Australia highlights just how poorly: of the 39 companies examined, only one was paying a wage high enough to ensure workers could meet their basic needs.
A new study into the effects of markets on moral values has found that people are more likely to authorise killing animals when operating within bilateral market-like conditions. Participants were given the option to either receive no money and to save the life of a laboratory mouse, or to earn money and accept the killing of the mouse. The results show a clear link between markets and eroded moral values.
Plagiarism at university is a time-old scourge. Some would have us believe it can be sought out with ever-improving technology, and with more consistent vetting of student essays with the latest detection software. But beneath these appeals to superior forensic intelligence lies an unhappy fallacy -- that a technological fix can address a moral problem.
Arguments are raging worldwide about whether media organisations, including newspapers and television stations, should be more tightly regulated. An independent assessment of Australia's media argues that newspapers need much more effective regulation than currently exists and that a new body should handle this, but also suggest bloggers should be included. That's a reasonable suggestion for large blogs, I reckon, but it could be fiddly to implement.
Presuming your budget can incorporate it, buying ethically-produced goods often seems like the right choice. A recent experiment suggests that we'd be more likely to buy ethical goods if the labelling was more explicit.
A post this morning describing how you can tweak the Book Depository to get cheaper prices resulted in several commenters suggesting it was unethical to even discuss how to do that, let alone actually doing that. I don't see the same kinds of reactions when Lifehacker discusses using BitTorrent to download TV shows or setting up proxies to view Hulu content -- but if you're being logical and rational, there's actually no real difference between the two topics.