Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists demand an ethical education in computer engineering

21.02.2008
Computer engineers require a solid ethical education integrating moral principles and respect for human dignity with the reality of their profession.

This is one of the conclusions of a study carried out by researchers of Carlos III University of Madrid (UC3M), in which different schools of ethics susceptible to be applied to computer scientists have been analyzed as well as the consequences of the development of their profession.

Although they seem to be completely different disciplines “ethics and information technology are two fields of research which are not in conflict; in fact,, ethics cuts across all aspects of our lives, among which is information technology “, explain the authors of this study, Gonzalo Génova y Anabel Fraga, from the Computer Technology Department at UC3M. In addition, according to their research, ethics does not restrict personal freedom, but instead “it is the way we use to control our own destiny and to achieve personal growth”, points out M. Rosario González, from the Complutense University of Madrid, co-author of this study.

According to the study, there are two different schools of thought which can be applied to information technology: on one hand, the consequentialism, in which the goodness of an action resides in its consequences; on the other hand, deontologism, according to which an action is right or wrong in and of itself, independently of its consequences. According to Gonzalo Génova, “the debate adopts too frequently a caricature bent: the first are represented as fanatics, and the latter as people without scruples, because in this way it is easier to ridiculize the other from the opposing side”. Anyway, the scientists from UC3M have come to the conclusion that without a solid ethical education, the engineer “would become a mere depersonalized technical instrument in the hands of others”.

A personal ethics school of thought

Evaluating the effects of a computing programme is difficult, but according to Anabel Fraga “this complexity is not an excuse to ignore the consequences”. Faced with this issue, and after analyzing the different ethics systems, the authors have opted for a model termed “moderate deontologism”, based on rational behavior which integrates rules and consequences. For the researchers, extreme positions are neither rational nor practical, for which they conclude that the most correct ethical position is that which, without undervaluing the consequences of actions, recognizes unquestionable barriers which are indispensable in respecting human dignity.

The new degrees in Computer Engineering, which will be offered in the incoming academic year at UC3M, suppose an advance as they will adopt a cross-sectional focus of the aspects of professional ethics. However, explains Gonzalo Génova, “the subject is important enough to warrant specific intellectual and rigorous treatment; because of that, the cross-sectional focus, which is indispensible, should be combined with a specific course subject”.

The professors of professional ethics and the computer engineers often encounter two preconceived notions among their students. On one hand “they think that ethics is a matter of opinion” and on the other hand, “they believe that professional ethics consists of prohibitions or barriers”, explains M. Rosario González. Nevertheless, her point of view differs from these stereotypes, and she affirms that ethics is something that is fundamentally positive and creative, which searches for new ways of doing good actions.

Francisco Javier Alonso Flores | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bib.uc3m.es

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Graphene gives a tremendous boost to future terahertz cameras
16.04.2019 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences

nachricht Mount Kilimanjaro: Ecosystems in Global Change
28.03.2019 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>