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Ethics in Software Development: Drawing the Line between Right and Wrong?

Firstly, what do we mean by ethics? If we go by dictionary meaning, ethics means, “moral principles that govern a person's behaviour or the conducting of an activity”. The chances of going down a slippery slope are very high if we start discussing different views on morality. Although it may be very difficult to know about the existence of the line between right and wrong in the context of software development even when you are walking it, for instance, unintentionally inflicting harm by the release of defective softwares. Having a standardized code of ethics for software development experts could be a solution; though not all the ethical issues would be resolved but at least it would enable us to harness the power of technology to serve the society in better manner.

software development agency

The darker side of a useful tool

Depending on the application, a technological tool can be a weapon! Artificial intelligence and automation can be used for accessing both good and bad. AI-based applications can be used for screening candidates to facilitate organizations to identify diverse talents. Contrarily, it can be used to screen out people with different ethnicities to facilitate mass deportations of those people if government considers them undesirable. It is indeed challenging to assess all the potential applications of a technology, beneficial and harmful, and that is the beauty as well as horror of the whole issue. You won’t be able to put a check on the unintended consequences of the technology.

Mitigating risks and unintended consequences

In order to improve the profession of crafting software, a software development agency should be able to implement ethical code of conduct that is part of broader professional standards because ethics will not work in isolation. Further, the agency must teach its employees how to ask the right questions. The questions should revolve around whether the technology should be built or what are the fail-safes to ensure that it has least harmful impact. Even though there are seldom chances that you would get a straightforward “right” answer to your questions but it would be certainly a good way to start.

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