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8. Risks, Failures, and Responsibilities

I wonder…

We did not cover te Risks, Failures, and Responsibilities topic in any depth. You should have some questions.

What is the responsibility, if any, of the humans who made the technology?

Are there professional standards and ethics for software and hardware developers like there are for doctors? Should there be?

Good questions. How would you find answers?

Q:
I wonder what importance this section had for this class – I’m not sure I understand how the discussions reflected the title of the section, Risks, Failures, and Responsibilities. What constitutes a risk? How do we know what’s a failure when we can always update a piece of technology, create a patch, etc., to make something work better? I know what kind of responsibility is needed for someone who creates a device or software or even hardware, but what are the responsibilities of the user? None of these questions got answered in this section of research I’ve done, and I kind of expected those questions to be answered or at least addressed superficially in this section.

A:
The Risks, Failures, and Responsibilities topic is broad. You and your classmates chose to research and report on a narrow subset of the issues. You are encouraged to research your own questions within the topic. I was surprised too. Generally by this stage in the course, students are thinking more broadly and the discussion focuses on ethical issues, “big picture” problems and societal expectations.

There aren’t a lot of online resources that address your questions. Finding discussions about Risks, Failures, and Responsibilities is difficult. Directing students to think about these topics is challenging. Your suggestions to improve the depth of these
discussions would be greatly appreciated.

Experience coding

Although both Hour of Code and Code.org are kid friendly, because of the selected imagery and gaming concepts presented in both tutorials, the actual coding exercises are challenging enough of everyone, even teenagers. The Angry Bird tutorial usually has the widest appeal.

Wikipedia editors are people

Can open source websites such as Wikipedia and Wikieducator be made more secure? Sure, but it also limits content contributions. Dedicated Wikipedia users are continually working to prevent hackers from inappropriately altering informative content and undo these attacks if they happen. There are specialized software tools that alert administrators to possible attacks.

In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to add new pages or make changes to pages, just to reduce these incidents. For example, there is now an extra step in creating a WikiEducator account. This was added in the last few months as a deterrent to troll software.

There have been cases where the editors have removed valid
information, although this is rare. Now most submissions are reviewed by an editor before they are added to the “live” article. These steps are necessary because there are those who abuse these resources.

Leonardo da Vinci Page
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci

History – hundreds of updates
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Leonardo_da_Vinci&action=history

Talk – lengthy discussions of contents of the article
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Leonardo_da_Vinci

This is quite an impressive example of the “behind the scenes” effort that goes into one of the more extensive and popular pages.

I’m here to help…

There are things that technology can do as well or better than a person can, and more quickly and more cheaply – like check your account balance and give you cash. Rather than raise bank service charge rates, this frees the bank’s “people” handle the transactions and customer service that technology can’t do at all.

Most customers prefer quicker cheaper cash transactions handled by an ATM. My local branch has 1 teller, 2 ATMs and 4 “banking
representatives” working on Saturday morning.

Discussions

Your discussion replies should be questions or factual information. While your personal opinion is interesting, you need to provide references to reliable factual sources to back it up.

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