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The Ethics of Research into Invasive Technologies

Bob Anderson
A number of systems which have been designed to enhance the computational support for collaborative work have features which are or might be potentially invasive. This has led to a debate within the domain of CSCW concerned with the ethics of research into such systems. In this paper, one general species of argument, used both to support and deny the validity of this research, known as "consequentialism" is examined. Several variations of consequentialism are examined: pure utility arguments, superogatory arguments, and Trojan Horse arguments. None is found to be especially well suited for the structure of the arguments which need to be deployed. It is concluded that the search for a consequentialist path through the ethical maze may itself be an unfruitful line of enquiry and indeed the consequence itself of our over-focus on the technology of argument.
Xerox Technical Report


EPC-1991-107.pdf (55.56 kB) (101.27 kB)