Responsibility for Bugs and Errors
Author(s): Caroline Whitbeck
Background and Module Content
- Ethical norms and practices governing responsible acknowledgment of errors, mistakes, and "bugs."
- Field-dependent practices governing the dissemination of results and corrections.
- Resources for raising concerns about possible misconduct.
- Resources for resolving disputes about responsibility within a research group.
Method and Scenarios
- Distribution of scenarios to the students and faculty.
- Faculty panel discussion of mistakes and errors that are made in their specialties, the criticality of those errors, and appropriate ways of correcting or notifying others once such errors are discovered--using the scenarios above and others that students or faculty wish to add.
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Readings (recommended for discussion of scenarios)
under construction 9/29/03
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- Increased ability to identify moral ambiguities in a problem situation.
- Increased ability to identify and negotiate responsibilities.
under construction 3/13/03
Additional Web Resources
- The Killer Robot Case
- by Richard G. Epstein. In this hypothetical scenario, a programmer is blamed for the death of an operator of a robot that he designed. The scenario features tongue-in-cheek humor and unexpected twists in plot.
- Internet Privacy
- With the growth of computer technology in the past twenty years, a serious new issue faces the engineer and scientist, as well as anyone in a computer related field. That issue is Privacy over networks and the Internet.
- An Investigation of the Therac-25 Accidents
- by Nancy G. Leveson and Clark S. Turner
- ComputingCases.org contains case materials and many other useful links about Ethics in Computing. The website also includes background information about socio-technical systems, ideas about teaching with cases, and example exercises.
Cite this page:
"Responsibility for Bugs and Errors"
Online Ethics Center for Engineering
National Academy of Engineering
Accessed: Saturday, March 28, 2015