chapter  8
COMPUTERS AND SOCIETY
BySimon Rogerson
Pages 21

Advances in computer technology, coupled with the growing convergence of computing, telecommunications and mass media, present many opportunities and dangers to individuals, organizations and society as a whole. Computers can be shaped to do any activity that can be described in terms of inputs, transforming processes and outputs. It is the nearest thing to a universal tool (Moor 1985). Consequently, society and its organizations are becoming more dependent upon computer technology. There is an increasingly wider access to, and wider application of, this powerful resource. Those responsible for the development and application of computer technology are faced with decisions of increasing complexity which are accompanied by many ethical dilemmas. Moor (1985) and Maner (1996) explain that computer technology is a special and unique technology, hence the associated ethical issues warrant special attention. Indeed, Tucker (1991) points out that there is a need to understand the basic cultural, social, legal and ethical issues inherent in the discipline of computing. Furthermore, Gotterbarn (1992) suggests that professionals must be aware of their professional responsibilities, have available methods for resolving non-technical ethics questions and develop proactive skills to reduce the likelihood of ethical problems occurring.