Computers, Ethics and Society

Article excerpt

Ermann, M. David; Williams, Mary B.; Shauf, Michele S. (eds.). Computers, ethics and society. New York/Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997. 2nd edition. xii + 340 pp. ISBN 0-19-510756-X.

In this second edition of selected readings on ethical questions raised by the use of computers, more than 80 per cent of the selections made did not appear in the earlier edition seven years ago: a sign of the rapidity of change in this field.

The primary target audience is American "junior- and senior-level students with computer-related interests or coursework" but, given the growth of public interest in ethical concerns and especially with regard to computers, this book should have a broader appeal. A first section focuses on the ethical implications arising out of the communications revolution, notably as regards the elimination and creation of jobs, its disproportionate impact in favour of the powerful, and threats to personal privacy and democratic freedoms; a few moral approaches are also outlined. …