Ethical Issues in The Use of Embedded Social Protocols to Resolve Technical Problems

Ergonomics Society of Australia
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Robertson, T. J 2002 'Ethical Issues in The Use of Embedded Social Protocols to Resolve Technical Problems, Ergonomics Society of Australia, Melbourne, Australia, pp. NA-NA.
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The relations between various computer applications and the social and organisational behaviour they are intended to support are not natural or pregiven. They are always constructed and always the result of decisions made somewhere. This paper takes a fragment of shared design work and considers some solutions to one of the technical problems that arise when technology is used to support similar work over distance. The argument is made that some of these solutions are better than others because they enable human interaction in different ways. Some solutions enhance the possibilities for human agency, others diminish it. Since human agency is about capacities and powers to act in specific situations, and ethics is about action, then there are ethical issues associated with the particular solutions to technical problems, as well as the particular representations of human activities, that we choose to embed in the technology we build.
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