Ethical Considerations in Software Engineering
Regardless of the field in which an engineer advances professional obligations to self, an organization, government, or society, they are always considered as solutions providers. The contributions they make are therefore critical to advancing human development on numerous fronts. Since the advent of the Information Age, software engineering is a career path that has blossomed exponentially (Quinn 23). For instance, it has enabled firms to position their bottom line with respect to what a target population demands of them. However, there are situations which place engineering professionals in circumstances that contravene professional code of ethics standpoints thus placing them at compromising states of affairs (Markoff). For instance, the development of Artificial Intelligence as a tool for leveraging an organization against competitors is gaining considerable attention (Hengstler, Enkel, and Duelli 107). This paper addresses ethical theories that inform the reasoning behind why companies should not use AI in cases where the objective of appreciating the greater good of the society is compromised.
As problem solvers, there are many situations which arise within organizations requiring the leadership to approach a software engineer in their individual capacity or as teams to find solutions that are inherently egoistic. For instance, a firm may require the engineering team to develop a system that gains information on the personal lives of its clientele (Zomorodi). The idea behind such a project is often informed by the need to understand how customer preferences mutate over time after the maximum utility of a particular product is achieved. This is the fundamental basis for organizations investing considerable resources into Big Data Analytics systems (Zomorodi). At face value, it looks like a well thought out organizational strategy through which a company keep tabs on changes occurring in a given consumer market. Companies that have successfully invested in Big Data Analytics are able to segment markets thus differentiating products (Zomorodi). The outcome is less internal resource wastages and greater efficiencies in operations and logistics. Customers are also able to associate such business with being responsive to their needs. Though the result may be inherently egoistic at first glance, the end is presumed to justify the means thus motivating a software engineer to go ahead and find a solution that is responsive to the leadership’s perceived challenges (Chapter 2).
As much as the intentions behind an engineering team’s purpose in developing software for a company may be noble, there is always the potential that their final work will be put into misuse. This implies that addressing the ethical consideration of software development from a consequentialist viewpoint may not be the best approach to apply in an organizational setting (Chapter 2). It is imperative that every enginee