The cyber world has become a most important part of our everyday lives. We spend an increasingly significant portion of our lives in it and use it to communicate with friends, acquaintances, loved ones, and business associates. We make use of our computers and Internet connectivity to look for and purchase all kinds of goods and services. We use the web and all its powerful resources to educate ourselves and to gain knowledge. We are able to look for, join and keep up with special interest groups and to discuss topics of interest to us. We research serious as well as mundane issues on line. In summary, cyberspace has become an interactive world that many of us have fully integrated into our lives. There is dark side to this phenomenon. The ease and anonymity by which we are able to perform all and many more of these feats of contact and access with an entire universe of places and people have created a dilemma: the need of cyber ethics. Ethics is a branch of philosophy that deals with what is considered to be right or wrong. Definitions of ethics have been widely proposed, such as “codes of morals of a particular profession”, “the standards of conduct of a given profession”, “agreement among people to do the right and to avoid wrong”. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines ethics as “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation”. In more simple words, it is the study of what is right to do in a given situation, and what we ought to do. It is important to note that what is unethical is not necessarily illegal. In our everyday life, many individuals and organizations faced with common ethical problems. There have been developments in biology and cybernetics that lead to a comprehensive theory of morality in which the rational nature of ethics can more easily be explained. Not only can the rise of ethical systems be linked to biological concepts, but ethics can be tied to mathematical concepts as well by way of cybernetic science. When ethics and cybernetics are combined, the resulting theory turns on scientific principles instead of philosophical speculations. There are several important ideas linked to the emergence of ethical systems: •
Ethical systems evolve in response to the human need to survive in an environment where they are competing with many other organisms for scarce resources; •
Humans survive and flourish by efficiently using their resources and energies; •
The evolution of ethical systems is a function of an ongoing cybernetic process involving all humans, animals, and organisms. Human experiences accumulate as a reservoir of knowledge, which influences the societal perception of which behaviors benefit people and which act counterproductive to their health and welfare. When people deviate from behaviors that are known to be productive, feedback arises that affects their lives in both subtle and obvious ways. Thus, the way in which people write laws and attach moral significance to certain behaviors is linked to a cybernetic process that maximizes human survival, minimizes social conflicts, and increases the meaningfulness of the human experience. Feedback that inspires change enhances the human ability to survive and to compete with other animals and organisms. What is important to note is how conflicts and potential conflicts act as a form of cybernetic feedback to society that alerts people to make changes in the way they behave. Feedback is an essential ingredient in evolutionary growth. Cybernetic ethics, in fact, is a way of viewing the evolution of ethical systems in terms of the informational feedback certain human actions generate. Feedback can arise from the consequences of specific actions that are easily observable, or from a change in a “state of affairs” that has slowly evolved as a result of the accumulation of formerly unseen problems. In conventional ethics, reference points are not described as such; rather, they are expressed in terms of...
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