Tech’s Ethical ‘Dark Side’: Harvard, Stanford and Others Want to Address It

Description: The medical profession has an ethic: First, do no harm.  Silicon Valley has an ethos: Build it first and ask for forgiveness later.

Source: NYT.com

Date: Feb 12. 2018

Now, in the wake of fake news and other troubles at tech companies, universities that helped produce some of Silicon Valley’s top technologists are hustling to bring a more medicine-like morality to computer science.

This semester, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are jointly offering a new course on the ethics and regulation of artificial intelligence. The University of Texas at Austin just introduced a course titled “Ethical Foundations of Computer Science” — with the idea of eventually requiring it for all computer science majors.    read rest of story

Questions:
1.  What are the two biggest ethical challenges presented by Tech?

2. How should we approach theses ethical challenges as a society?

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83 thoughts on “Tech’s Ethical ‘Dark Side’: Harvard, Stanford and Others Want to Address It

  1. Daman Singh

    One of the biggest ethical challenges presented by technology is that it has the ability to alter human society and human interaction. Another ethical challenge presented by technology is the bias that comes from using computer algorithms. This is an underlying consequence to the idea that the individuals that are creating these software’s and apps are focusing on the individual and organizational benefit rather than understanding or even evaluating the social consequences that the advancement of technology poses. At the beginning of the century, no average individual would have imagined that individuals in 2018 would be relying on technology so much that it would be difficult for one to venture out on a drive or a walk without their cellphones telling them where to go. We have turned into a society that has begun relying on machines so much, that we have reached a point where these machines are eliminating humans from the workforce. Though this is beneficial in some industries, these benefits can only be reaped until a certain point. After that, the use of technology will be considered detrimental to society. By introducing a self-diving car into society, we are advancing into a more futuristic society, but we forget the negative impacts that this will have on the average individual. With this technology, individuals may think that it is alright to drive under the influence which in turn will impact the laws and bylaws set in place regarding drunk driving. A self-driving car will impact not only its consumers, but also the citizens of those cities and regions. The bylaws will have to be altered in order to accommodate for this, new drivers will require a section in their training regarding the impact of these cars on the roads, police will have to be updated on these laws, etc. There are certain jobs that are meant to be left at the discretion of humans and this is a perfect example.
    As a society, it is definitely very important to address these challenges before they get out of hand. As mentioned in the article, various universities are introducing ethics in computer sciences courses, which I think is the most effective way to reach a large audience. The students in school right now, learning how to code and how to advance technology will have to face problems, they may not even imagine, in the near future. These problems will be consequences of their products and their research into technology. By teaching them now what the impact of technology is, they will be able to create new technologies with that information in mind.

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  2. Cheryl Desaunoy

    3. The two biggest ethical challenges presented by Tech.
    The original focus of computer science was to develop the capabilities of the computer; to design programs to essentially effectively use computers to task and multi task functions. As the research and design produced those outcomes at faster and more accurate levels, the next progressive thought was how those functions could be made available at lower cost, higher levels of complexity and faster speed of operations. I do not believe that any thought was ever given to the affects on humans, especially the possibility of negative ones. Computers were machines; machines were not living organisms, therefore not associated with moral or ethical ramifications. As long as the computer remained under the control and direction of humans, the ethical issues lay with the human aspect of computing and programming. The emergence of BIG DATA; its use and collection, along with Artificial Intelligence (the result of BIG DATA predicting and responding to human behaviour using algorithms) has challenged the “safety” and “morality” component of computer science as crossing the line of privacy, human rights, personal choice and consent issues in the data mining industry. The level of trust has been destroyed by BIG DATA collection through Facebook and Google as the current mining of personal information far exceeds the original seemly innocent presentation as a social platform to chat/communicate with friends and family. The false sense of privacy from within your personal computer has morphed into a universal stage that currently has no realistic privacy, despite your attempts to control who can access your Facebook page. What rules that changed at the inception of Facebook to its current open book policy is by far the biggest ethical challenge of breach of trust to its original users. Both Google and Facebook operate with a false advertising format, as their platform is presented with a completely different set of functions and services than their data mining is used for and sold without expressed consent of their users; a privacy violation.

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  3. Callum Wallace

    I feel that one of the biggest ethical challenges facing Artificial Intelligence is where to draw the line. There has to be a line where emotional reasoning is more important than analytical reasoning. What makes AI so groundbreaking is that it thinks like a human, a question could be; does it feel like a human? Pertaining to life changing decisions, such as job hiring and selecting applicants for university, can AI really take into consideration everything that is to be considered? I struggle to believe so, and for that reason where there is an element of emotional reasoning, AI fails to meet the required standard of an adequate decision maker. I also feel that AI and the software therein, is designed to benefit and perform the purpose it was intended. Most often, that purpose doesn’t coincide with the maintaining of individuals privacy. So much information is out there for software to use and construe in whatever ways is most applicable, unbeknownst to the provided of the information.

    In order to combat this, as a society, I believe that regulations should be introduced that require certain softwares to go through a screening process to ensure that it is safe for public use. Much like other products require safety testing, AI software should have to follow a similar protocol. This technology has the potential to change our lives beyond our current imaginations, but with that potential it can also disrupt and in some cases destroy lives. Software engineers, as brilliant as they are, need to be aware of this and respect those who come in contact with their creations.

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  4. Cody Dick

    1. What are the two biggest ethical challenges presented by Tech?
    The scope of bulk data collection and profiling users into databases may be profitable but it also has the potential to be very dangerous. Our digital lives can be used to find out many personal things we may not want corporations and the government knowing every intimate detail just to sell us a product or in the name of national security. Even if these are secure for now this may not be the case in the future, or if a regime changes who knows how the government may use this data.
    2. How should we approach theses ethical challenges as a society?
    Technology is advancing faster than ever but the ethical questions are left unanswered and in many cases left to the “wild west” of the internet with no laws forbidding questionable ethical data collection and technology uses. We need to make sure the technology works for everyone best interest and not just that of the companies using it for profit and advantages.

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  5. Joshua Wong

    With newer and improved technologies, the issues of privacy and data usage is becoming a more prominent topic. The amount of data currently available on the net is already having enough issues with personal privacy and data use. The tracking of users and documentation of users without the consent of the users is an issue today. While the amazing potential of technologies is great the misuse is just as great. For example, not all businesses have the user as the focus but data gathering and selling. This doesn’t even include governments as other governments around the world have their own policies on use and misuse of technologies. To help combat the misuse of technologies consumers need to be more aware of the growing issues. If more users and other consumers are more aware the greater the chance that misuse of technologies is lowered. If issues become mainstream then changes can be made more easily.

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  6. Brendan Ficiur

    One of the biggest ethical issues is the effect technology is having on human behavior. It is impossible to truly understand these effects, as the technology is so new, and changing all the time, meaning that the long term effects are impossible to know. Another problem is the fact that kids are using these technologies so frequently, and we don’t understand about that effects it might have on their development. Companies are trying to get users to use their platforms as much as possible, as they need to in order to make money. While we cannot expect them to lead the charge, other institutions such as universities will have to. The article talks about how they are introducing classes specifically about the ethics of technology in places like Cornell. I think this is important because it poses different ethical concerns than just normal ethics classes or business ones would. Designing an app that encourages its users to use it is not inherently wrong, but if it is designed to change human behavior, it could be. Another thing that needs to be done is to better educate the general population, especially young people.

    Another ethical issue is around the data companies have on their customers, both the data they gather themselves and the data customers give them. Security has become a huge issue, as seen in recent examples like the Equifax hacking. Companies need to realize that this is an ethical, not just a business concern, as a breach of information can potentially harm peoples lives.

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  7. Nicholas Herman

    I think one major ethical challenge presented by tech is the ability for news sources to print or release news that is in no way accurate and is very misleading. They have no repercussion for publishing this garbage and misleading their readers or viewers. They might not realize it but this could have a major effect on the readers opinion on a certain topic. This could have a drastic effect on certain individuals that have fake news published about them and could potentially ruin a career or the public image of a person. To me this is not ok and the newspapers or websites that are publishing this information should be help to a higher standard and there should be fines or other forms of punishment on these businesses for reporting fake news. Will this happen? Probably not because these websites or newspapers want to be the first to report on gossip that they hear to be true. They will not do the required due diligence to make sure that their facts are correct and will just post to mislead their followers and gain more views or readers which translates into more income for the paper or website. I think that fake news actually deteriorates the ability for a news source to report correct news because then you are not sure if what you are reading is true or not. But then again it could also be a good thing because if you read a controversial article about a topic that interests you, it could force you to do more research on the topic and inform you more and realize that what the news site is reporting is actually incorrect.

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  8. Clarke Binning

    The two biggest ethical questions when it comes to tech is who determines what the AI determines to be ethical, and how do they secure the information. all it takes is one person to get into the system to completely corrupt it – take the self-driving cars for example. Imagine if an IT employee of a company who manufactures self-driving cars has a vendetta against the company. They easily have access to the system in which controls the cars and could easily manipulate a car to cause harm to society. To avoid this, mass amounts of background checks into all employees should be made and allow only the minimal amount of employees access to these systems. As a society, I feel like there should be policing just like there is when you are driving a car and if it is found that a large majority is acting unethically with technology that affects other people that there should be a way to punish people for their actions. Technology should continue to evolve.

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  9. Carson Kleiboer

    Though technology is obviously a benefit to our everyday lives, making things easier and more efficient. It is obvious that there are issues regarding technology. I believe the 2 largest ethical challenges regarding technology is that of personal privacy and data usage. The thing about personal privacy in todays world is that so much of peoples daily lives are put out there onto the internet. The thing about the internet is that people can hack almost anything on the internet. Therefore peoples personal privacy could literally be under threat at any point in time. The other thing about personal privacy on the internet is that anyone in the world has access to hack through the internet. For example peoples web cams on their computers have allegedly been hacked by people. Another major ethical issues regarding technology is that of data usage. So much of what a person does throughout the day through technology such as your sell phone is now recorded as data. For example the GPS on someones cell phone could be tracked and that data could be sold to companies whom wanna know where they should build a new location. It is apparent that data protection and personal privacy go hand in hand being that much of the data being collected for consumer research purposes is personal data. The companies want to know what youre interested in, what routes you take to and from work. They then buy this data that is collected on you from a data collection company and they utilize it in whatever manner they see fit.

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  10. Eric Laxdal

    1. What are the two biggest ethical challenges presented by Tech?
    The first ethical issue that is present is the fact that developers of tech are developing tech that can drastically change and alter peoples opinions and releasing it to be used before they have tested the affects that it could have on people. when you look at sites like Facebook and Instagram you can see how people can become addicted to using them and how that can have many negative impacts on all aspects of their lives from social life to education. another issue is the lack of regulation regarding how companies can operate and pass along information of users. while i am not a proponent of government intervention on most issues i do believe that their needs to be more done on this issue as it is currently the wild wild west.
    2. How should we approach theses ethical challenges as a society?
    i think that we should be careful when addressing these issues not to do anything rash. while they need to be talked about we should be careful not to do anything drastic and risk dissuading inventors from developing new products. i would suggest holding meetings between real life users and the developers to see if there are any issues obvious to the people that will be using the tech that may have slipped past the developers.

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  11. Jake Ichelson

    1. What are the two biggest ethical challenges presented by Tech?
    There are a lot of possible ethical violations when it comes to recent advancements in tech. Recently, the misuse of big data is one of the largest ethical violations. The tracking and documentation of users without the specific knowledge of the users is an incredibly dishonest act for a product to participate in. Consumers have the right to know what the information they provide on the internet is being used for and where their specific data is being sent to. Another ethical violation of tech is the difference between right or wrong and the censorship of valid opinions. The use of mass Artificial Intelligence cannot distinguish subtle differences in human behaviour the same way a reasonable human can. This could possibly lead to a misuse of the algorithms that computers create and lead to blocking of valid opinions of consumers and any healthy debate that could follow.

    2. How should we approach theses ethical challenges as a society?
    Society should approach the challenges to ethics in tech by creating more awareness in the misuse of tech. More could be done if users of a network were well aware of what the internet footprint was being used for and how their personal information is being tracked, documented, and sold for unethical uses.

    Reply
  12. Kelli Ober

    When I think about tech, the two biggest ethical issues I see are, privacy and security. With the use of internet globally, and everyone is able to access the technology, it has given companies the ability to collect user’s information. Websites have embedded cookies in order to know more about their users by tracking every click made on each site, thus making it possible for companies to learn about consumers shopping habits. Then the companies are able to suggest certain products or adds to appear on the page of specific people. This process can be looked at in a way that it appears unsafe or insecure. It is possible for that to happen if the system gets into the wrong hands of a person with a bad motive. As society approaches the ethical issues of tech, it is the job of everyone to make it possible for it to be safe and secure. It is up to the government to inforce rules and regulations, to ensure that tech companies are to operate in an ethical manner. It is parents and educators job to inform young people about the possibility of bad people to get a hold of your information. The what to put on the internet and what sites to stay away from. Same goes for consumers to educate themselves for what rights they are giving up when using certain technology items. And the tech company’s role to make ethical decisions while developing and using the products that they develop.

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  13. Braden Marks

    There is no doubt that technology has impacted our lives greatly and that is has helped us in various ways for many different things. The rise of technology has created innovation, convenience, and enjoyment. But as technology advances even further and we begin to create new tech, there will be issues and ethical problems that arise. Take the driving cars for example, using technology and data, companies are starting to create cars that drive and park themselves, awfully convenient to a customer, but really how safe are these advances? Tech can be made very advanced and intelligent, but there is an extent to when human judgement triumphs technological judgement. There is no way technology can be a judgement of character and there are always technological issues that arise, what if the tech malfunctions and creates harm. Very in-depth testing must be required and even then, the widespread of technology will have problems that will arise that will ultimately not have a solution to them. The class being offered at Harvard is acting as a solution to these problems, creating future employees or employers how to deal with ethical issues that arise. By having a class train students to a degree that strong and that in itself is a solution to the ethical problems that are arising from technology. But, like said before, technology has always and always will have issues, it’s up to the society and the businesses to do their best to stop it, but for the mistakes that slip, its societies challenge to deal and cope with them. I believe perfect technology is inevitable.

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  14. Alexander Moumdjian

    I think the two biggest ethical challenges technology poses is the unethical misuse of data, and even defining what is ehtical or unethical in the first place. In my opinion, unethical use of data would be the selling of personal data to other enterprises for a profit. It is an unethical breach of privacy to people who use the web. Who knows who has access to this data, as time and time again companies have been hacked and peoples personal identities stolen due to ineffective security measures. However, defining what will be ethical use and unethical use of this data is a grey area, and always will be. Ethics is of personal moral values, and how this will apply to data is uncertain. We should approach these ethical challenges by setting ground rules, however again the question posed on what is ethical and what is not may differ from person to person, and even country to country. An ever changing, fluid rules and regulations that everyone, including consumers, should be upheld universally.

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  15. Melinda

    I think the biggest and most important challenge is to define what is ethical and what is unethical. I think that individually people have a social responsibility to act ethical in the ways we behave.This needs to emphasized in the tech world because information on the internet is difficult to remove. Technology sort of seems like an oxymoron to ethics. The problem I see with technology is that it often views things in categories and “yes or no” answers. Ethics doesn’t always approach judgement this way. I think that it might be hard to consider what is considered ethical vs unethical in response to technology because there poses a degree of uncertainty. I do agree with the article when it suggests that we’ve allowed technology to advance so rapidly without considering the consequences. In regard to approaching these challenges I think we are on the right path in educating our peers the issues concerning the tech world. There definitely needs to be more awareness and acceptance of the challenges this poses to businesses and individuals. I think Media could play a significant role here in telling the right narrative in order for change to happen. Ultimately I think the solutions to this are more regulation and awareness. I think that people lack a shared understanding on the complications involved with ethics and this needs to be addressed first and foremost.

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  16. Jessica Abel

    1. What are the two biggest ethical challenges presented by Tech?
    2. How should we approach theses ethical challenges as a society?
    Privacy issues and also data security

    Governments collect massive amounts of data on individuals and organizations and use it for a many different purposes. Technological advances have significantly changed the scope of what can collected and analyzed. Massive amounts of data, can be stored and retrieved effortlessly and quickly. With tools like the internet, hackers have found it extremely easy to hack into any computer or system as long as it is connected to the internet. Hackers can easily use an IP address to access a user’s computer and collect data for malicious reasons. As much as information technology has enabled us to share and locate relevant information online, it has also exploited our freedom of privacy. There are so many ways our privacy can be exploited, webcams with access to your private life, use of social networks, which might expose you to users with wrong intentions to use your data, and also some companies are known to spy on their employees using these social networks. Tech also presents us with a whole new set of security issues. Networks can be breached, personal identification information can be compromised, identities can be stolen and potentially result in personal financial problems, critical confidential corporate information or classified government secrets can be stolen from online systems, web sites can be hacked, amongst a host of others security issues that can occur.

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  17. Alyssa Lacoste

    One of the big ethical problems presented by tech is the mindset that you “should move fast and break things”. This is causing issues because people are building, and creating technologies without first understanding the ramification sit can have. A lot of tech is used, and will become more apparent in peoples everyday lives, so it’s important to know what the negative consequences they will have. In the article, it stated that students didn’t think ethics was relevant. Since software writing doesn’t see much of death or pain, it comes off as irrelevant to think about in development. Another ethical challenge is how much the tech can alter a human life. They could potentially harm a human. For example, self driving cars could save lives, but what happens when something in the machine falters? It is important to keep these considerations in mind. To help approach these ethical challenges as a society, we need to ensure that proper education is in place. Those who are in charge of creating this new tech, must be informed of the repercussions it can have on human life. Maybe passing a regulation stating that those who have an education in the tech field, must also have a class on ethics. People who choose to use this tech should have resources available to them that explain both the benefits and the repercussions so that they can make a proper choice for themselves. That way, they are sure they are making the right choice, and they are informed of all the possible outcomes that could happen to their life if they chose to use the tech.

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  18. Scott Hill

    One of the two biggest ethical challenges faced is the consequences of creating this new technology so quickly without worrying about any of the problems it might have. These problems are seen as something that can be patched later, they don’t take into account the negative experiences users might have before the patch. The second ethical challenge faced is creating software, like AI, that may radically change a lot of lives in the world both for better and worse.
    As a society, we should think about slowing down these technological advancements and ensure that they are the best thing for society as a whole. With the development of AI especially, we need to take time to think more about the ethical issues of AI and the potential consequences it might have if we develop it quickly without closer looks.

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  19. Norman Gould

    One of the challenges is getting over perceived ethos of build it first then ask for forgiveness later. While this may work to ensure getting the task done it does not look at the bigger picture that the product or service that you developed may have bigger implication than originally conceived in development. A very real and simple example was who would thought a passenger airplane could be used as a weapon of terror. Another issue is that computer code does not harm anyone how but when used to make decision about people it has the implication of making a wrong choice and harming someone reputation or at worse causing anguish for that person.
    Approaching these challenges is going to be difficult because most people do not approach their daily life with the intent to hurt someone, at least I hope. When some goes about making a product to help people in their daily live they don’t think about how this could be used as a weapon. It is because of this that people have to think outside the box and challenge themselves into how can I ensure that what I am developing is going to be used in the way I intended or can it be more beneficial when combined with something else.

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  20. Nicholas Benner

    Among many, I believe two of the biggest ethical challenges presented by tech are the rapid increases advancements that are being made everyday in development and regulation surrounding it. The rapid development can be viewed as a positive or a negative depending on an individual’s stance on the subject matter. AI is helping people live better and more independent lives, but it also presents issues of safety, privacy, and security. Along with these concerns, ethics cannot be ignored. Being able to accurately address the ethical issues at hand are extremely important, in that the technological advancements and ethical regulation should be able to coexist side by side without interference from either party both with the achievement of a common goal in mind. Given the technical and delicate nature of the subject matter, I believe a very effective way to address the ethical challenges as a society is education and training. Being able to effectively learn about the technology and the possible effects it may or may not have on society is essential to providing piece of mind to the population in which this technology will be integrated in. As stated in the article, being able to identify the issues years down the road and having the knowledge to address them in an ethical manor is crucial in maintaining public confidence and safety while avoiding encroaching on the rights of individuals.

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  21. Ian Hymers

    1. What are the two biggest ethical challenges presented by tech?
    The two biggest ethical challenges are the unfaithful representation of information in the media and the availability of purchase of fake relationships such as fake Instagram followers.

    2. How should we approach theses ethical challenges as a society?
    Firstly, we should have more regulation on the side of the companies. Media outlets are aloud to run unrepresentative hit pieces to represent certain politicians as things they are not to subscribe to a political agenda. This is not a safe way of displaying information to people who want to make a decision based on facts and trustworthy information. Regulation should be put in place to punish these companies when they promote or create unfaithful information. Secondly, Instagram and Twitter should be implementing ways to ban these fake accounts. There is evidence that these apps are addictive and promoting very unhealthy life styles for kids and young adults.

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  22. Lambee Mangal

    1. Although technology has improved people’s lives, there is also a dark side to it. Two of the biggest ethical challenges presented by technology decision making and security. Powerful tools like machine learning have become extremely popular. These computer algorithms can autonomously learn tasks by analyzing large amounts of data. The problem with this is that data sets can be bias, the data can be and has been used unethically, putting people’s privacy at risk and collecting incorrect information, yet the use of these algorithms to help automate life-changing decisions is still growing. However, personal integrity cannot be replaced by machine and ethical decisions cannot be based on data alone. Tech companies show little concern for the negative impact they can have on society or address the issue. If tech companies like Silicone Valley have an ethos: “Build it first, ask for forgiveness later”, then we know that we need to prevent it at the building stage, by teaching ethics and monitoring it.

    2. How should we approach theses ethical challenges as a society?
    As stated “technology is not neutral.” The choices that get made in building technology can alter human society. Therefore, ethical challenges posed by technology should be handled by education and regulation. While consumer awareness is important, training the next generations of technologists and policy makers to consider the ramifications of innovation before products go on sale is significantly more important. Students must have an understanding of ethical issues related to computing, especially since they are the ones who create it. Policymakers must enforce regulations. The products created by companies, the data used to create it and the policies that surround it must be reviewed before they are available for consumers.

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  23. Dylan Tomiyama

    1. What are the two biggest ethical challenges presented by Tech?
    I think the two biggest ethical challenges presented by technology is the misuse of data collected by the technology and defining what is considered ‘ethical” and “unethical” use of the technology and data. With more and more data, be collected and sold to businesses there is an increased risk of this data being used for unethical purposes such as stealing an individual’s financial information or leaking personal medical records that may effect and individuals career. As these issues arise there will definitely be a need for regulations in order to protect businesses and individuals. As there may be many situational factors that influence whether or not an action is ethical or not; it is then critical to define what is ethical but also allow the regulations to be flexible for case by case situations.

    2. How should we approach theses ethical challenges as a society?
    I think there needs to be ground rules set for what is considered ‘ethical’ and ‘unethical” in order to help guide businesses as they move forward into the development and implementation of this technology. As well I think rules and regulations will need to be updated as we move into the future as there may be many unindented consequences that were not originally addressed or seen when regulations were first developed. However, I believe that regulations need to be set out sooner than later in order to prevent unethical events before the occur.

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  24. Grant Stewart

    What are the two biggest ethical challenges presented by tech?

    The biggest challenge currently in this era of fake news is who gets to say what news is true and what is fake? This is a problem that Facebook is facing right now because of the Russian bots that pushed for Trump on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. Who gets to control and muzzle voices that have an opinion even if it is vastly different from the reality of the situation? It’s a lot of ethical challenges that are very difficult to navigate and full of political red tape. This is a huge issue for social media right now. On a different note another ethical challenge can be where they are outsourcing their business? Are they using sweatshops and places that take advantage of people that are not as well off as people in the first word, or are they doing things ethically and in a stand-up manner? These are questions that all tech giants need to look at.

    How should we approach these ethical challenges as a society?

    I think that a lot of issues in regard to fake news can be solved by teaching everyone basic critical thinking skills. If people start looking critically at what they are reading and looking at several sources instead of just maintaining their own biases society as a whole will be better off. Confirmation bias online is a very real and very troubling commonality and needs to be stopped as soon as we can.

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  25. Ben Cowan

    I would argue that the two biggest ethical challenges Tech developments present are the question of how much technology should be relied on for potentially life-changing decisions (such as whether or not to hire a person or admit them to post-secondary education) and the reality that continued progress and technological development carry with them other important considerations, such as their impact on society and if the benefits really outweigh the potential costs. The article revolves around the idea of introducing basic ethical considerations into post-secondary programs designed to prepare people to enter the world of tech development, in order to perhaps challenge the prevailing notion that technology should be developed and implemented first before its broader implications are considered.
    This strikes me as completely backwards. Returning to the challenge of how involved AI and general technology should be in making decisions such as hiring or admitting an individual to post-secondary, the fact that technology likely can be developed to completely automate the process (likely in the name of “cost reduction” and “efficiency”) should not mean that the technology must be developed. Many in society would likely have grave concerns with the notion that a computer or an algorithm would be the primary determinant of such life-changing decisions. What if the algorithm is flawed? What if the technology fails? What happens when circumstances arise that are better handled by human judgement than programmed judgement? What about potential candidates who are missed due to over-reliance on a formula or a system? These questions—and many others—should be asked every step of the way in the development of such technology.

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  26. Zharen

    Two biggest challenge that Tech have is security and ethical values that might comes with new technology. Safety is one of the biggest problem and one of most the important thing that everyone is worried about. Having these new technology, creators have to think about the safety and it’s user and the risk that might occur. And technology has so much power and sometimes creators might not know what one can do with that power or what that technology is capable of. Some laws might think it is safe to use these technology but some ethical issues might occur that law does not covers. I think the challenge is, some of us does not know where the fine line is of what is wrong or right. Therefore, to approach this challenges as society, we always have to educate everyone of what is acceptably right and what is not right to do. To educate everyone that there might be things that they think it’s ok, but they do not know that those things might harm someone. Also, create more protection and safety. Always put regulations on who should have these new technology and who should not. And educate every organizations and company about these technology to control their use of it and the safety of it.

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  27. Kirana Stocker

    Ethics and how they are involved and handled in Silicon Valley has become a highly debated topic. Previously, the tech industry has not seen ethics as a necessity in the field, but with new technology emerging that has a deeper effect on everyday lives, ethics has become a hot new topic. The article mentions how technology has developed things like autonomous vehicles which we commonly attribute as a good thing that can save people, but we tend to overlook the harm they can also cause. This is just one of the issues tech faces as they continue to advance in a technological aspect. For instance, tech companies are looking at individuals who have been suspended from school and are using them to create an algorithm to determine if that individual is more likely to commit a crime. While we might hope that while a student is looking at this they will come to the conclusion that this technology isn’t fair and will consider if we are in a position to let machines judge humans? These reactions simply aren’t taking place. People are instead looking at these algorithms and the people it profiles as numbers and statistics and not looking specifically at the person. While one problem is identifying that this is an issue, another one is how to implement the change in thinking and if a class is enough to change the way students are thinking.

    While I personally believe that introducing classes at the major tech universities is a way to begin to implement the change gearing thought towards ethics, students have to truly grasp the concepts they are being taught and implement them themselves. I believe society can approach these changes by not encouraging the use of products that use unethical technology. By being aware of these issues, society can gear the way Silicon Valley thinks and further re-inforce the importance of ethics.

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  28. Dale Smith

    1. What are the two biggest ethical challenges presented by Tech?

    Bias in data as represented by their systems not accounting for the correct data mix, these systems incorrectly skew results and since some of the uses of these systems are then used in hiring processes this could potentially result in correct hires being passed over. The removal of the computer programmers from their clients is also creating a major ethical challenge. This removal of the face to face aspect results in riskier and riskier products being pushed as these programmers are unlikely to see the consequences of their systems.

    2. How should we approach theses ethical challenges as a society?

    Increased training through university or client sensitivity training can be utilized to attempt to curb these issues. By teaching the computer scientist what ramification their software can have and how incorrect and biased information can wrongly shape demographics they might be more thorough with these systems completion. This can be seen in programmers questioning if producing products that draw users back every few minutes are truly what they should be focusing on as was seen in our in class case on Silicon Valley corporations gathering data on users.

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  29. Scott

    Technology has made human life easier. But because of rapid technological advancements, the financial earning potential, as well as the legal grey area and lack of regulation, technology will continue to face many ethical challenges. I think that everyone does have right to privacy you don’t have to divulge information that you don’t want to be in the public’s eye but with the advancements in tech and AI it makes me wonder what those algorithms might accidentally find and subsequently post without your knowledge because it matches some pattern of behaviour that you didn’t know you had. In the booming artificial intelligence(AI) industry, society has failed to notice that the tech industry has little duty of care for individuals. The best way to approach a resolution is through discussion, it will take time, but offers the best opportunities. There should be meetings and classes and training on how to deal and develop tech that deals with proper ethics. I agree with the idea of silicon valley turning having the approach of doctors and thinking about ethics before they produce their tech in comparison to dealing with it later and having to say sorry.

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  30. rey.lupango

    Questions:
    1.  What are the two biggest ethical challenges presented by Tech?
    There is no doubt that technology has made human life easy, from mobile devices, transportation, and new medical technologies, has become essential to our lives. However, these innovations often come with a serious ethical problem. Since machine cannot perform with ethical decision, it has always been a challenge for the developer to maximizes the technologies capabilities without risking someone’s reputation or security. As for medical professional, their ethics is to not cause harm first. But technologies have to be develop first as they improved it to perfection. Another problem here is that how to educate these people that are going to use these technologies who will be building and working on our future. For the creator of AI technologies to make these machines neutral still seems impossible. The leak of personal information to the general-public and the growing number of hackers needs to be address as these technologies grow, but for me these is seems impossible until they make the machine have the ability to think ethically.
    2. How should we approach theses ethical challenges as a society?
    I feel that there is not much we can do to face these ethical issues as a society. There will continuously be issues that we cannot always look after and fix. We will just have to continue to adapt to them. A responsible society will help but we can’t stop the development of these technologies that maybe the keys to the human survival in the future as our natural resources is diminishing.

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  31. Griffin Phillips

    What are the two biggest ethical challenges by Tech?

    In my opinion, the two biggest problems are the fact that all of this technology has so much power to do tasks but has no idea what is right or wrong and what it is capable of another problem is that there really aren’t any laws of technology acting unethically. Autonomous cars are here they are programmed to be safer and better drivers than the average person but everything about them is programmed and programmable. This provides the opportunity for things to be programmed to do different things these cars are programmed to be safe but how hard is it to reprogram them to cause harm? How easy is it to police things like this and what is the penalty for acting unethically with technology.

    How should we approach these ethical challenges as a society?

    I think as a society we need to be informed of the true power of the devices we are using and what some of the consequences might be. As a society, I feel like there should be policing just like there is when you are driving a car and if it is found that a large majority is acting unethically with technology that affects other people that there should be a way to punish people for their actions. Technology should continue to evolve but to benefit our communities not to add another source of danger problem into the mix. There need to be laws against it so that people will think twice before they act.

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  32. James Braid

    One of the two biggest ethical challenges that is being posed is what are the ramifications of innovations in technology. This question is only just starting to be posed in top level universities, because of the technology that is being programmed today and how this technology is being built with the attitude of build first think second. The technology field has not ever had to think about how their innovations could hurt people and affect their live negatively before. Today we are seeing that technology can lead someone to depression and suicide. This needs to be addressed and thought of when developing new software to try and protect the users. Another ethical challenge is regulating the products already on the market. This problem has come about through Facebook’s fake news issues. Computer software innovators have been so focused on new exciting innovations that they have forgotten ethical issues that can go with the products.
    I believe that the best way to approach the issue is to develop the programmers and computer software students into thinking about ethical issues around new innovations and current programs. The class that Harvard will be offering approaches this in a very unique way which will help push people into thinking about the ramifications. The class will get students to think about the potential issues and then get the students to fix the issue by putting it into code. This is an excellent way to enforce the ethical standard which is needed in Silicon Valley. The hope is that when these students graduate they will be hired by companies and can share their new way of thinking ethically about innovations.

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  33. Heather Donahue

    I think that the top two ethical issues regarding tech is the security of a tech system and using tech to create a judgement on a human. For security, specifically, all it takes is for one person who has access to the tech system to completely corrupt it – take the self-driving cars for example. Imagine if an IT employee of a company who manufactures self-driving cars has a vendetta against the company. They easily have access to the system in which controls the cars and could easily manipulate a car to cause harm to society. To avoid this, mass amounts of background checks into all employees should be made and allow only the minimal amount of employees access to these systems. As for tech judging humans – that’s crazy. There is no better way to create a suffice judgement on a person than another person. Using tech to find statistical data on the population is one thing, but to use it to determine whether a person is likely to be a criminal or not is bogus. There should be regulations in place to protect people from tech systems making false (or even true) judgements about them.

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