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Ethics for a Digital Age, Vol. II

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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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Introduction to Part I (David Kamerer)

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Introduction to Part I

DAVID KAMERER

Perhaps the most visible digital ethics issues are connected to business. Technological innovations allow businesses to know their audiences better, interact with them through social media, and facilitate transactions. However, these opportunities also carry substantial risks if executed without ethical forethought.

A student once bragged that he had figured out how to get rid of the ads on Google’s Gmail service. “Just send a fake note to someone, and in it, express grief over a suicide. The ads will just stop—for a while, anyway.”

If this scenario is true, it’s an example of the emerging technology of emotion analytics. You might think emotion analytics are only found in a research lab, but no. They’re here today. Susan Currie Sivek presents a series of applications and companies working in this area and asks some important questions about the technology.

What kind of data lies at the core of emotion analytics? Think of the Microsoft Kinect camera, perhaps the most common facial recognition tool. When you use a Kinect, you know you’re being tracked. It’s just for fun. But some retail stores use a similar technology to watch customers. This presents very different ethical issues. While no “killer app” has yet emerged, and while people will likely push back once they’re made aware of it, it’s not hard to imagine ethical issues arising by the broad diffusion of facial...

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