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What are the responsibilities of computer professionals in ensuring ethical use of emerging ICT applications in the future?
There have been drastic changes in the world in the past few decades. One of the major reasons behind this drastic change is the diffusion of technology in the societies. Technology has changed the way in which people interact, think and do their tasks. According to Schmidt et al. (2012), information communication technology has transformed the society significantly. For example: ICT is now integrated with the educational classroom so as to improve the quality of teaching. The emergence of telecommunication and computer technologies is termed as information and communication technology also referred to as the Information Technology (IT). Information and communication technology (ICT) can be defined as the technologies that are used for managing the telecommunications, transmission system, broadcast system, network-based control and the monitoring functions (Stahl et al., 2017). The businesses across the world have adopted ICT tools in their daily operations so as to improve the organizational effectiveness and efficiency. ICT in essence offers a number of opportunities and flexibilities along with challenges for the users. The ICT is associated with a number of ethics that should be considered by the ICT professionals and users while its application. Ethics are the moral values or principles that guide an individual's behaviour in the context of conducting an activity (Van den Bergh & Deschoolmeester, 2010). This paper therefore, focuses on the positive and negative impact of ICT along with the responsibilities that computer professionals hold in ensuring ethical use of emerging ICT applications in the future. The ethical aspects related to information and communication technology is gaining an importance because it is extremely important to prevent the abuses and destruction in the computer technology.
Despite of the fact that Information and communication technology has revolutionized the way in which people communicate and interact, it is also essential to focus on both the positive and negative outcomes of this technology. The ICT technologies have made social contacts easier (De Wet et al., 2016). ICT has enabled an effective information distribution process along with enhancing the overall quality of life of individuals. For example, e-mail is one of the ICT tools that deliver the information in few minutes in comparison of the traditional method of sending a letter that took few days. In essence, it can be indicated that ICT provides wider information and knowledge 24×7. Wilson et al. (2014) in their study indicated that in a business world, ICT has improved the ability of employees in the context of doing their jobs and sharing their ideas on a larger platform. The ICT play a crucial role in all the spheres of society and business. For example, the social networking sites help the people across the globe to communicate and connect in few minutes. Some of the most important social networking sites are – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The positive impacts of ICT are not limited to above discussed aspects but, they expand to all the areas such as education, health, e-commerce, banking, etc. ICT is helping the organizations across the world to spend less and earn more money by their business activities. (Wilson et al., 2014).
The above discussion indicates that ICT has a number of positive impacts on the business, culture and society, but unfortunately, there are a number of negative aspects associated with the same. Some of the negative aspects have emerged because of the unethical practices that are adopted by the ICT professionals and users. The unethical practices have made information society a dangerous world with the antisocial behaviour and unethical practices such as viruses, theft, unauthorized access etc. (Rogerson, 2017). The ICT has negative impacts on the security and privacy of the organizations and individuals. Such negative impacts also cause commercial losses to the organizations. For example, in the year 2018, Under Armour’s application was breached with a theft of large amount of information including the e-mail addresses, passwords and usernames of over 150 million users (Newman, 2018). Another major breach that occurred because of unethical practices was the breach in Facebook in the year 2018. Facebook is a leading social networking site that faced a breach in which data of 29 million users were stolen (Vengattil & Dave, 2018). The issues in the ICT present a number of ethical, legal and cultural questions that need to be answered. There is an absence of technological or legal controls that presents several dangers for the ICT professionals and users. Apart from the above discussed negative impacts of ICT, it is also associated with the social problems in the society. The ICT is also making the people more individualistic and introvert in nature (Polkowski, 2015).