Information Technology, The Good and Modernity


Wong, Pak-Hang (2010) Information Technology, The Good and Modernity. In: Jordi Vallverdu (Ed.), Thinking Machines and the Philosophy of Computer Science. IGI Global, pp. 223-237. ISBN 9781616920142

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Abstract:In Information and Computer Ethics (ICE), and, in fact, in normative and evaluative research of Information Technology (IT) in general, analyses of the prudential values of IT are often neglected by the researchers. Yet, these analyses contain important insights for answering normative questions on people’s well-being. In this paper, I urge researchers in ICE to take these analyses of IT seriously. A serious study of these analyses will broaden the scope of ICE. But, what are these analyses? I will distinguish the analyses of the prudential values of IT from other types of normative and evaluative analysis of IT by noting their unique guiding ideal, i.e. the Well-being. Then, I will explain why these analyses are not taken seriously by researchers in ICE, and argue why they should not be neglected. After that, I will outline a framework to analyse and evaluate these analyses, and I will apply the framework to analyse and evaluate an actual prudential analysis, i.e. Nicholas Carr’s ‚Is Google Making Us Stupid‛. Finally, I will briefly conclude this paper by outlining the limits of the framework proposed in this paper, and then to identify the further research that need to be done.
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