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    Author(s): Alan J. Thomson; Daniel L. Schmoldt
    Date: 2001
    Source: Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 30 (2001): 85-102.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (112.69 KB)


    Over 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.

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    Thomson, Alan J.; Schmoldt, Daniel L. 2001. Ethics in computer software design and development. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 30 (2001): 85-102.

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