The Future of Morality, at Every Internet User's Fingertips

Tim Hwang, The Atlantic, Aug 10, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Ethics have always been at the core of education. But now as learning escapes the classroom walls, so do the associated ethical issues. Consider, for example, decisions about whether to link or whether to click. Does a reference to Reddit imply an endorsement of the offensive groups hosted there? It certainly does help pay for them - a fraction of a cent here, a fraction of a cent there. Do recommendations impact how we are governed? Maybe Google or Facebook ranking can influence elections. What about ad blocking? Is it unethical to stop Google from listening to your audio or watching you through your camera? What about blocking facial recognition with special sunglasses? What about using personal email to keep private information private?

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