Write essays of about one page (300 words) to each of the following questions. Each question is based on an assigned chapter from our textbook. Write the response in your own words. You may use short quotes of a sentence or less from the textbook to support your ideas, and you may also refer to the videos we watched in class, but don’t use any external sites.
In class we watched United States of Secrets, which detailed the NSA’s controversial domestic spying program, as well as Edward Snowden’s decision to reveal classified information proving the program exists. In chapter 1 of our textbook, the philosophical theories of Kant, Mill, Locke, and others were discussed at length.
Discuss the ethics of the program and Edward Snowden’s actions, applying one or more of the following theoretical frameworks: Kant’s categorical imperative, Mill’s utilitarianism or libertarianism, or Locke’s natural rights.
Baase ends chapter 7 with the following observation: “When we consider the most extreme potential developments, such as superintelligent robots, what level of certainty of dire consequences should we require before restricting the freedom to develop technologies and products that might have marvelous benefits?” (p. 351).
Do you believe that the potential dangers of superintelligent robots are such that we should restrict their development? Why or why not? In formulating your response, consider the ethical theories we have discussed in class, including the categorical imperative, utilitarianism, libertarianism, and natural rights.
In chapter 8 Baase discusses numerous cases of technological failures and their negative consequences. Discuss one of these examples from chapter 8 in greater detail, such as the Therac 25, the Denver International Airport, or the Space Shuttle Challenger. What was the root cause of the failure? What should have been done differently? What can we learn from this failure that we can apply to current or future forms of technology?
Respond to this scenario from the end of chapter 4: You are a teacher. You would like your students to use a software package, but the school’s budget does not include enough money to buy copies for all the students. Your school is in a poor neighborhood, and you know most of the parents cannot afford to buy the software for their children. (a) List some ways you could try to obtain the software without making unauthorized copies. (b) Suppose the methods you try do not work. Will you copy the software or decide not to use it? Give some arguments for and against your position. Explain why you think the arguments on your side are stronger.