7.1.6 – Social impacts and ethical considerations associated with using embedded systems

Social Impacts defined as “the effects on people and communities that happen as a result of an action, activity, project, programme or policy.”

  • Health
  • Gender discrimination
  • poverty
  • Corruption
  • Education

Ethics is defined as “moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity.”

In terms of Computer Science Ethics topics may include

  • Hacking
  • Data protection and privacy
  • Responsibility for failed hardware

In terms of the IB Syllabus much of the emphasis is put on

  • Tagging prisoners
  • Surveillance
  • CCTV
  • Improved safety systems

As students need to discuss a topic you need to be able to discuss the pros and cons before arriving at a sensible conclusion

Tagging Prisoners

Pros

  • Allows prisoners to be tracked at all times
  • Allows less dangerous prisoners the freedom of movement whilst still being monitored
  • Reduces numbers of prisoners held in prisons

Cons

Can be hacked which could result in losing tracking details

  • Details could be sold to make money
  • Loss of freedom in terms of being tracked everywhere they go

Surveillance

Pros

  • As everyone is being monitored it could provide a safer society
  • If it was a government initiative we would hope it would be used Ethically
  • Could be used as evidence in court cases

Cons

  • The data collected could be sold off
  • Could be used to monitor for the wrong purposes
  • People loose their privacy

Improved Safety Systems

A driverless car which should provide improved safety resulted in a fatality.

Who is responsible?

Could this have been avoided by having a human operating the vehicle