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Free Example of Computer Ethics Essay

Section I

Several moral agents are involved in case II. One of the moral agents is the boss of the software company that the software engineer is working for. The software engineer is also a moral agent in this case. The other moral agent, in this case, is patients of the hospital that the software written by the engineer serves. These agents face several ethical issues. The boss is the employer of the software programmer. It makes it the responsibility of the software engineer to respect the demands of his boss. If the software programmer chooses to ignore the problem of the monitoring software monitor as his boss suggests, the software may fail to monitor patients’ information appropriately. It may lead to misdiagnosis issues.

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If the boss ignores the problem, he will avoid the additional costs of rewriting the software. In addition, he will save the time that the programmer would have used in writing a new software program. However, this might cause problems to the patients, since the software might fail to analyze the medical history of a particular patient. The hospital in case II will be affected by the actions that the moral parties choose to take. If the software programmer ignores the problem in the software, the number of complaints from the patients will be high, since the software will fail to monitor their information appropriately. It will tarnish the corporate image of the hospital. If the software programmer rectifies the problem, it will handle all the information of the patients properly. This will lead to an increase in patient satisfaction. The software engineer may also opt for informing the hospital about the problems of the monitoring software. The hospital will, therefore, look for alternative software.

Section II

According to the ACM code of ethics, a computer professional should always ensure that he/she honors the contracts, assigned responsibilities, and agreements (Barger, 2008; pp. 115). One of the ways that a computer professional can fulfill this responsibility is by ensuring that that the system he/she is implementing works as it is intended. This shows that the software engineer has the responsibility of ascertaining that the monitoring software works effectively. In addition, this principle states that a computing professional should consider requesting for a change of an assignment if he/she feels that a particular assignment cannot be completed as it is defined. Considering this code, it proves that the software engineer could consider asking for reassignment, in a case when the boss does not want the monitoring software to be rewritten. The ACM codes of ethics also state that a computer professional should always strive to achieve the highest quality, dignity, and effectiveness in the process and product of professional work (Barger, 2008; pp. 114). It suggests that a professional in the computing field should always produce high-quality work that has no mistakes. The software programmer should, therefore, write monitoring software that does not have mistakes. According to the ACM code of ethics, a computer professional should be honest and trustworthy (Barger, 2008; pp. 112). One of the ways that a computer profession can promote honesty is by ensuring that he/she does not make deliberately false or deceptive claims. If the software engineer in case II chooses to ignore the problems that are in the monitoring software, he/she will be violating this code.

Software Engineering Code of Ethics can also be used to analyze this case. According to this code of ethics, software engineers should always ensure that they develop products that meet the highest professional standards possible (Barger, 2008; pp.118). The software programmer in case II should, therefore, ensure that the monitoring software does not have any complications. These codes of ethics also state that software engineers should maintain independence and integrity in their professional judgment. The software programmer in case II should, therefore, consider avoiding being influenced by his employer.

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Section III

The concept of profession and ordinary morality is gaining popularity in many professions. Professional morality is mainly determined by the code of ethics in a particular profession. Ordinary morality comes from the moral theories that a person may have. Lawyers are supposed to cross-examine witnesses. This is in an attempt of discrediting the credibility and reliability of any information that they may give to the jury. The witness may be telling the truth while testifying in the stand. However, the professional codes of lawyers state that a lawyer is supposed to cross-examine a witness, even if the information provided by the witness is true. The lawyer may personally value honesty, but the law may not allow him/her to practice his beliefs while examining the witnesses. According to ACM code of ethics, a computer profession is supposed to honor contracts, agreements, and assigned responsibilities (Barger, 2008; pp. 115). It suggests that a software engineer is supposed to consider completing any particular project that he may be contracted to perform. In case 2, the software engineer is supposed to finish writing the monitoring software that will handle all the patients’ information. However, ordinary morality may not allow the software engineer to finish writing the program, since he will be engaging in dishonesty if he agrees to finish writing the program that contains mistakes.

According to the Software Engineer Code of Ethics, software engineers should consider acting in a manner that serves the best interests of the employer, client and public (Barger, 2008; pp. 121). These codes further argue that a software engineer should use the property of a client only in ways that he/she is authorized by the employer or client. The software engineer in case II should, therefore, not make any changes on the software, unless his employer authorizes him to make these changes. Ordinary morality would not allow the software engineer to approve this software since it might cause harm to the patient. In addition, the software engineer will be practicing dishonesty when he agrees to approve the software after knowing that it has problems.

Section IV

The software engineer should consider reporting this issue to the hospital so that the hospital could look for alternative monitoring software. Monitoring software systems are useful in hospitals due to several reasons. One of the reasons is that they help in improving the quality of services that doctors offer to patients. In addition, they help in ensuring that hospital record-keeping systems are secure. This will help the hospital avoid any casualties that may be caused by the defects in the software. Although this will cost the company that the software engineer works for many funds, it will help in improving the patient’s care and patient’s safety. A software engineer has a duty of ensuring that all the software that he/she writes brings positive contributions to society. In addition, a software engineer has a duty of reporting any defects that may be present in the programs that he/she writes. This proves that it is necessary for the software engineer to report the software defects to the hospital.

If the software engineer reports this issue to the hospital, his relationship with his employer will deteriorate. The employer might view the software engineer as a traitor, since he went against his commands of keeping the issue under cover. He may not give the engineer another project because of this. In addition, the client base of their software company might also reduce. The public will view this company as incompetent because of writing a software program that has defects. However, the public might view this company as honest and a company valuing corporate social responsibility since they accepted their mistake.

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