Ethics in an Age of Tech
Ethics in an Age of Tech ECS 188
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ashleigh Dare on Tuesday September 8, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ECS 188 at University of California - Davis taught by Phillip Rogaway in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 43 views. For similar materials see /class/187708/ecs-188-university-of-california-davis in Engineering Computer Science at University of California - Davis.
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Date Created: 09/08/15
Carl Gould and Joel Fischer Due May 10 2004 ECS 188 7 Rogaway and Reynoso The Eagle 5 Shadow a Look into our Nation s Ignorance As United States citizens we enjoy some of the highest standards of living in history We are rich beyond historical precedent While one fth of the world lives on one dollar a day we don t bat an eye at driving our SUV s two blocks for groceries Our comfort has led to political complacency we rank 1143911 in the world in voter turnout1 Our apathy towards the rest of the world and our consumerist culture allows our government to adopt foreign policies that are detrimental to many foreign countries Additionally technology plays a key role in America s adversarial relationship to the rest of the world America is the biggest drain on the environment overall Even though we are home to merely 5 of the world s population we are responsible for a quarter of worldwide consumption and pollution2 If all countries on the Earth were to become rst world nations and consume as we do the amount of resources needed would require 3 more planets As the world s leading consumers we are addicted to shopping We buy the latest toys and throw them out when there s a better model Our media tries to secure brand loyalty starting with children as young as one year old3 We are reminded by the press that if we even slow down on consumption our economy will dive But as purveyors of technology we need to set the standard for the rest of the developing world and try to be a country that is rich and environmentally friendly by decreasing consumption and proving the viability of using alternative resources While we take steps to protect the environment we also need to protect our rights as citizens I Hertsgaard Mark The Eagle s Shadow Why America Fascinates and lnfuriates the World page 163 2 Hertsgaard page 34 3 Hertsgaard page 38 The USA PATRIOT Act introduced and passed through legislation and executive review in only one month s time seemed to revoke half of the 10 amendments of the Bill of Rights Its policies infringed upon freedom of speech prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure right to due process right to a prompt public trial and protection against cruel and unusual punishment There were no public debates no coverage by the media and no explanation of the changes until after its rati cation We re an open society the president declared but we re at war 1 Sadly polls showed that most of America was willing to give up some rights to improve national security and a third of those polled even wanted the detainment of ArabAmericans2 We might wonder what the ratio of bluecollar to whitecollar workers was in that poll As stated by Schmidt in Timid Professionals whitecollar workers tend to think in favor of their company s best interests which are normally aligned with conservative actions 7 giving the government power This may help explain the overwhelming support the government has shown towards business since Reagan s years In the eighties Ronald Regan deregulated business because he believed the free market would do better without restrictions He based his supplyside economic policy on the idea that major tax cuts to companies and the wealthy would provoke investment by companies3 Unfortunately major side effect of this policy was a massive federal budget de cit as well as the reduction or elimination of social services which as of now are almost impossible to bring back Reagan also deregulated the various communication technology channels allowing those who could afford it to buy up as many as 36 radio and television stations per company4 That number soon increased so that a given company could reach one in three households nationwide 1 Hertsgaard page 53 2 Hertsgaard page 52 3 Hertsgaard page 142 4 Hertsgaard page 101 This centralization of media sources has had broad implications regarding what information we receive Now we have merely seven huge media conglomerates controlling nearly all of television radio newspaper and books These companies are General Electric Sony ATampT AOL Time Warner Disney Bertelsmann and News Corp Decades ago journalists were radical if they challenged the actions of political and economic elites but recently it seems they are radical for just being honest Journalists are accused of being unAmerican for merely criticizing any of the nation s or their parent company s policies and many times are even red Their news stations are generally prevented from reporting negative issues that involve them or their af liates and they aren t interested in criticizing or investigating government actions either After all why would one of the Big 7 want to criticize the government whose supplyside economics has been a veritable windfall for them for the past thirty years Even in cases where gathering information should be top priority politicians the military and even the media corporations themselves prevent our journalists from accessing it June 23 2001 Reuters reported of a plan of attack by Saudi dissidents on the US which reached almost every major newsroom in America1 Surprisingly it was considered not worthy of publication by media heads but at the same time those stations were giving considerable airtime to the Gary Condit sex scandal After it was realized that Bush may have ignored such critical terrorist information the media decided to return to reporting on more serious news but it had trouble After all overseas news bureaus had been closed and experienced reporters red long ago 2 Shortly after the Daniel Pearle incident the Pentagon quickly decided that reporters must stay under the protection of the American Army and not to wander without an 1 Hertsgaard page 104 2 Hertsgaard page 105 accompaniment It was roughly this time that journalist Doug Struck was held at gunpoint by American troops preventing him from checking into a rumor that a civilian Afghan village had been bombed It s no wonder we don t know much about the outside world We should demand better reporting from our sources of world news and openly criticize those who try to prevent their publication Being ignorant about our foreign policies doesn t prevent foreigners from hating us Even without the US media diligently reporting only the of cial government line it would be easy for Americans to be oblivious to our government s actions abroad Nightly television news the primary news source for the majority of Americans devoted a measly two minutes per night to foreign news1 This is an abuse of a publicly owned communication technology media channel 7 television airwaves A democracy depends on a wellinformed populace to make decisions This information should reach us through the airwaves that we own US media s choice not to put any emphasis on foreign news helps to allow the US government to enact foreign policies that are widely unpopular worldwide While the scope of these policies is very broad ranging over political economic and military policies we will focus here on the military At the same time that Reagan initiated the deregulation of the media he also diverted federal lnds away from social programs and into the Pentagon s budget This has bloated the Pentagon into a 400 billion a year federal agency2 One may argue that we need this money for defense However the question has become defense from whom Our largest potential foes Russia and China spend 70 billion and 50 billion on military technology and resources respectively How do we justify spending so much on military technology especially when the federal government cries broke when schools and other social programs are starving for 1 Hertsgaard page 99 2 httpwwwtruemajorityorgoreotranscfm lnding As an example of our military technology glut note that we have 22 Trident nuclear submarines in our nuclear arsenal Each of these submarines has the capability to turn 400 cities into toxic rubble1 As citizens we have been in our complacency condoning this bloated and misdirected military As engineers we should strive to not become an enabling cog in this system of militaryindustrial complex gone awry We have argued in these pages that US citizens levels of consumption and complacency when it comes to our government have allowed abuses in media and military technology These abuses are allowing for financial plundering within our country and nurturing a worldwide population of angry disenfranchised people who blame their woes in many cases justifiably on us We introduce the term blowback coined by the CIA for how foreign policies can in unforeseeable manifestations come back to plague a country many years after the fact There are numerable examples of this in our military history In fact it seems empirically that most of our military excursions in other countries have had the net effect paradoxically of lowering our national security The most recent examples are the September 113911 attacks which were largely the result of growing global resentment in response to foreign military policy notably our military aid for Israel and our troops stationed in Saudi Arabia While our policies cannot excuse such attacks it is arrogant and ignorant of us not to assume responsibility for our own actions overseas While we have focused this paper on negative aspects resulting from our complacent consumerist culture it is important to also know that much of the world greatly admires us Much of the technology that is invented here has great positive social consequences around the world Communication technology is inherently antirepression2 and medical technology has 1 Hertsgaard page 83 2 Giddens Anthony Runaway World tremendous positive potential The trappings of our culture are adopted widely even in some of the most rural and unexpected places We are seen as a country where individual prosperity is not precluded and where political change is possible These qualities are much admired by citizens of countries for which neither of these virtues exist We should be care ll not to squander this reservoir of good will by allowing our technological might to arrogantly trample upon other nations If we do we will see the results of our actions blowback in our faces time a er time
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