....and another FC: APIs Are Not A Substitute for Ethics
Building on a Twitter post from the other day, my latest Fast Company essay looks at what happens when we try to limit misbehavior through tools, not rules.
The best kind of rules are those we apply to ourselves, those we believe in. Ethics--sometimes thought of as "how you behave when no-one is looking"--have the advantage of being readily applied to novel situations, and able to guide responses fitting the spirit of the law. People in positions of social power (such as doctors and lawyers) often receive training in ethics as part of their educations. What I'd like to see is the introduction of ethics training in these new catalytic disciplines.
Computer programmers, biotechnologists, environmental scientists, neuroscientists, nanotech engineers--all of these fields, and more, should have at least a course in ethics as part of their degree requirements. Ideally, it should be a recurring element in every class, so that it's not seen as just another hoop to jump through (check off the "is this ethical? Y/N" box), but instead as a consideration woven into every professional decision.
Along the way, I take a slap at a couple of my usual targets, too.