Professional Responsibility in Computer Science

1358 WordsJun 4, 20066 Pages
In Donald Gotterbarn's article, "Informatics and Professional Responsibility," he argues that "although informatics has been undergoing a rapid development, there has been no corresponding development in the concept of responsibility as it applies to computing practitioners" (107). Gotterbarn believes that computer professionals should be perfect and are responsible for any effects caused by their coding. I disagree with Gotterbarn on this matter. In this essay, I will show that Gotterbarn's thoughts and beliefs on professional responsibility in computer ethics are unreasonable and therefore should not be applied. Gotterbarn begins his article with examples of problems that resulted from software developers. In 1991, there was a major…show more content…
I strongly disagree with Gotterbarn's article. He believes that computer practitioners should take all responsibility for any problems that their code has produced, but no one can consider every single possible consequence. For example, suppose a plane crashes into your house and destroys it. The builders of your house are not going to consider that consequence when building it because it would be extremely rare. If you applied Gotterbarn's statement to this example, the builders would then be attributed responsiblity. Gotterbarn is basically stating that every computer professional needs to be perfect. If a customer hires a computer practitioner to design a program for them, but does not provide enough information, how can the computer programmer be held completely responsible for any problems it may cause? Also, if a computer professional designs a program for others and a user uses the program in a negative or harmful way, the programmer cannot be held responsible. For example, suppose someone designs a website using a program and in this website he

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