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Ethics for a Digital Age, Vol. II


Edited By Bastiaan Vanacker and Don Heider

The second volume of Ethics for a Digital Age contains a selection of research presented at the fifth and sixth Annual International Symposia on Digital Ethics hosted by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication. Thematically organized around the most pressing ethical issues of the digital age from a professional (parts one and two) and a philosophical perspective (part three), the chapters of this volume offer the reader a window into some of the hot-button ethical issues facing a society where digital has become the new normal. Just as was the case in the first volume, this collection attempts to bridge applied and theoretical approaches to digital ethics. The case studies in this work are grounded in theory and the theoretical pieces are linked back to specific cases, reflecting the multi-methodological and multi-disciplinarian approach espoused by Loyola’s Center of Digital Ethics and Policy during its eight years of existence. With contributions by experts from a variety of academic disciplines, this work will appeal to philosophers, communication scientists, and moral philosophers alike.

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Foreword (Don Heider)


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Increasingly technology surrounds us, no longer as a tool or an aid, but as a way of life. As Luciano Floridi argues, we are experiencing a fourth revolution in human development, as we are becoming informational organisms living in a cocoon of technology (Floridi, 2014).

All this is happening without a full understanding or discussion of the ethical implications of this revolution. Evidence of this can be found now almost weekly, if not daily. People livestream murders and other unspeakable acts on Facebook and other platforms as the technology providers deny their role as media companies. Instead, the companies race to get a handle on how to control unruly and objectionable posts and ask for crowdsourcing help to police their sites. YouTube ads appear on anything from cute cat videos to clips of terrorists beheading hostages. Apparently the company never considered the implications of letting computers place ads.

When we founded the Center for Digital and Ethics & Policy in 2008, the idea was to help foster discussions and research about ethics involving new technology. We have found a community of scholars and professionals who are deeply concerned about issues such as privacy, access, piracy, behavior online, and more. Though scholars from many different disciplines have been engaging in research in this area, we have a void when it comes to the tech companies themselves. Not that these companies are filled with people...

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