From computer ethics to the ethics of global ICT society

Publication Date13 Mar 2007
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/07378830710735858
Pages47-57
AuthorKrystyna Górniak‐Kocikowska
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Library & information science
From computer ethics to the
ethics of global ICT society
Krystyna Go
´rniak-Kocikowska
Philosophy Department, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven,
Connecticut, USA
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to address the place of computer/ICT ethics in the global ICT
society driven by knowledge economy.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper focuses on three main issues: the evolution of the
name of the leading technology of our times and, accordingly, the evolution of the name of the society
in which this technology plays the leading role; some ethical dilemmas that the global ICT society will
need to solve; global ICT ethics and the knowledge economy.
Findings – The paper suggests that global ICT ethics should be an ethics focusing on the dynamics
of the relationship between the weak and the strong, the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick
worldwide – and it should explore the ethical problems from the point of view of both parties involved.
That way, Global ICT Ethics can have a truly communicative character, and it can become an ethics
that will be both a co-creator and also a result of a democratic processes.
Originality/value – This paper should interest anyone concerned with ICT and globalization.
Keywords Ethics, Communication technologies,Globalization
Paper type Conceptual paper
Introduction
Ten years ago, at the first ETHICOMP conference in Leicester, UK, I presented a paper
“The computer revolution and the problem of global ethics” (Go
´rniak-Kocikowska,
1996, 2004 (shortened version)). I argued then that the computer revolution has a global
character and that computer ethics has to be therefore a global ethics. Throughout
history, different societies created their own ethical systems by which the members of
that particular society were expected to live. However, today while using computer
technology, especially computer networks, an individual leaves behind the “local”
point of reference and applies a perspective of the creators of this technology. That
often means also the suspension or abandonment of the ethical rules of one’s own
society/community in favor of those by which the network users around the globe are
expected to act. A global ethics of the computer era emerges.
I am happy that I was not wrong then. But what about now? Where are we, and
where are we headed? I would like to address some of the many problems related to the
ethics of the new, global society; a society we now often call the ICT Society.
I will focus first on the issue of the significance of the evolution of the name of the
leading technology of our times, from computer technology to ICT; and, accordingly,
the evolution of the name of the society in which this technology plays the leading role.
The problem of the difference between knowledge society and knowledge economy will
be brought up as well.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
www.emeraldinsight.com/0737-8831.htm
Ethics of global
ICT society
47
Received 31 January 2006
Revised 18 October 2006
Accepted 1 November 2006
Library Hi Tech
Vol. 25 No. 1, 2007
pp. 47-57
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
0737-8831
DOI 10.1108/07378830710735858

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