The Invisibility Factor Of Computers

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In James Moor’s publication in METAPHILOSOPHY entitled “What Is Computer Ethics” Moore discusses the fact that the “invisibility factor of computers presents us with a dilemma.” The invisibility factor relates to the fact that computer operations are often invisible; they can’t be viewed by man (Moore, 1985). To explain this concept, Moore gives the example of a computer programmer. Moore explains that the computer programmer may be aware of what was input and output, he/she may not completely understand the internal processing that took place to obtain the output. Moore realizes that the use of computers increases efficiency because the user is not burdened with monitoring computer operations (Moore, 1985). However, the computer also makes us anonymous. I believe that people are more likely to act unethically when no one knows who they are. This being the case, there is ethical significance to being invisible. Moore (1985) argues that the invisibility factor of computers makes society vulnerable. He describes three types of invisibility, which all have ethical significance. Moore (1985) describes invisible abuse as “the intentional use of the invisible operations of a computer to engage in unethical conduct”. Moore gives several examples of this including a programmer who realized he could steal excess interest from a bank through computer programming and the invasion of the privacy of others when computers are programmed to monitor phone calls and emails. I
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