Skip to Main Content
Due to a lapse in federal funding, this USDA website will not be actively updated. Once funding has been reestablished, online operations will continue.
Ethics in computer software design and developmentAuthor(s): Alan J. Thomson; Daniel L. Schmoldt
Source: Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 30 (2001): 85-102.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
PDF: View PDF (112.69 KB)
DescriptionOver the past 20 years, computer software has become integral and commonplace for operational and management tasks throughout agricultural and natural resource disciplines. During this software infusion, however, little thought has been afforded human impacts, both good and bad. This paper examines current ethical issues of software system design and development in relation to privacy, accuracy, property, accessibility, and effects on quality of life. These issues are explored in the context of simulation models, databases, geographic information systems and artificial intelligence programs, especially expert systems. New approaches to system development place a much higher emphasis on the effects of system deployment within a complex human environment. Software design decisions often depend on more than one ethical issue, possibly conflicting, where the appropriate ethical choice is not always clear cut. Professional codes of ethics do little to change peoples’ behavior; rather, ncentives for using an ethical approach to software development may lie in significantly increased likelihood of system success.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationThomson, Alan J.; Schmoldt, Daniel L. 2001. Ethics in computer software design and development. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 30 (2001): 85-102.
- Modeling human-environmental systems
- Social and environmental sustainability in large-scale coastal zones: Taking an issue-based approach to the implementation of the Prince William Sound sustainable human use framework
- Fire history of oakpine forests in the Lower Boston Mountains, Arkansas, USA
XML: View XML