What is Computer Ethics?*
Computers are special technology and they raise some special ethical issues. This chapter discusses what makes computers different from other technology and how this difference makes a difference in ethical considerations. It describes computer ethics and shows why this emerging field is both intellectually interesting and enormously important. A typical problem in computer ethics arises because there is a policy vacuum about how computer technology should be used. Computers provide us with new capabilities and these in turn give us new choices for action. Computer ethics include consideration of both personal and social policies for the ethical use of computer technology. The mark of a basic problem in computer ethics is one in which computer technology is essentially involved and there is an uncertainty about what to do and even about how to understand the situation. Hence, not all ethical situations involving computers are central to computer ethics.