INTED 2020

INCORPORATING DIGITAL ETHICS THROUGHOUT THE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

Michael Collins (TU Dublin) presented the first Ethics4EU peer-reviewed paper at INTED 2020.

The media is reporting scandals associated with computer companies with increasing regularity; whether it is the misuse of user data, breach of privacy concerns, the use of biased artificial intelligence, or the problems of automated vehicles. Because of these complex issues, there is a growing need to equip computer science students with a deep appreciation of ethics, and to ensure that in the future they will develop computer systems that are ethically-based. One particularly useful strand of their education to incorporate ethics into is when teaching them about the formal approaches to developing computer systems

There are a number of specific processes and methodologies that incorporate these stages in different ways into their approaches. Some take a linear approach to these stages, whereas others take a more iterative and/or incremental approach. These models include the Waterfall Model, the V-Model, the Spiral Model, and the Agile family of models. For each of these models this paper will present a way to include ethics in the Specifying stage, and well as threaded throughout the model, and as an explicit stage in a final review process at the end of the implementation stage. 

These formal models are understood (and used) by computer companies all over the world, and therefore are a natural means of incorporating ethics into software development in a manner that would not seem overly arduous or unwieldy to developers. These techniques are also taught in the computer science departments of universities all over the world, it is therefore vitally important that lecturers incorporate an ethical dimension into their systems development teaching, and we believe that these newly refined models provide them with a simple means of achieving this task, and this will make a new generation of software developers ethically-aware.

The full paper “INCORPORATING DIGITAL ETHICS THROUGHOUT THE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS” by D. Gordon, M. Collins, A. Becevel and W. O’Mahony will be published in the INTED 2020 Proceedings within 2020 and it will be available for reading on IATED (https://library.iated.org/view/GORDON2020INC).