Universal Code of Software Ethics Essay

3508 Words 15 Pages
Universal Code of Software Ethics

Introduction

Software organizations are growing along with the international businesses they service. Driven by universalism, the world is becoming a single workplace and marketplace. Like all professionals, Software professionals who work within these organizations regularly face problems of an ethical and moral nature. In making decisions, what cultural, social and ethical norms should apply - those of the professionals’ home culture or those of the culture in which they are working, and indeed, are these two choices necessarily different? [6]

"Each Nation has many customs and practices which are not only unknown to another nation but barbarous and a cause of wonder," says Michel de Montaigne.
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We can do this by identifying how different people groups view ethics and where their morals differ. Differences in people groups can be based upon a number of factors, including easily categorized factors like race, nationality, religion, gender, age and disability; or factors that are more difficult to categorize, such as upbringing, socialization and communication. Despite the large number of differences brought about by these factors, consensus on certain values is still thought to be obtainable. These shared values provide a building block on which we can establish a universal convention for the ethical use of computer technology. [1]

Universalism and Software

That which we today call universalism is merely the latest phase of a process which has been under way since Portuguese navigators of the 15th and 16th centuries first began to open up the globe through exploration. "Religion, technology, economy and empire" have been the four "major engines" driving this process [8], at greater or lesser rates since the Industrial Revolution. Current definitions of universalism stress the economic engine driving this process, which has taken the global economy from a collection of closed national markets to an integrated global market.

Observers such as Grossholtz [4] and Mazrui [8] raise legitimate concerns over the adverse consequences of the current wave of

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