Ethical Codes


The purpose of this chapter is to showcase the wide range of ethical codes that are employed in different professions, some of which are directly related to the use of analytics in that profession, and others which describe ethics in the profession generally. There is often a presumption, if not an explicit assertion, that the values in these ethical codes, and in ethics generally, are common, core, and universal. But they are not.

Pages

All Codes of Ethics
This is a listing of all the codes of ethics surveyed for this course.


All Ethical Values
This page lists all of the ethical values associated with the ethical codes.

Media

Module 4 - Introduction, Nov 01, 2021

Values, Nov 04, 2021

Ethical Codes and Ethical Issues , Nov 04, 2021

Duties and Obligations, Nov 05, 2021

Module 4 - Discussion, Nov 05, 2021

Bases for Values and Principles, Nov 08, 2021

Live Events

2021/11/01 12:00 Module 4 - Introduction

2021/11/05 12:00 Module 4 - Discussion

Tasks

Graph Code of Ethics to Issues

Consider the Canadian Nurses Association - Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses. Ask yourself what ethical issues it addresses.

Then, open the graph editing tool and associate the ethical code with the issues it addresses.

- use alt-drag to draw the link

- use right-click to export your data

Consider also writing a blog post regarding this code of ethics and whether or not it sufficiently addresses the ke ethical issues for that discipline. (Note: I will be adding more of these for other ethical codes, and the links will be found on the page for each ethical code).

 

Due: May 25, 2022

Your Posts

An Ethical Codes Reader
Stephen Downes, Google Docs,

This Reader is divided into two major sections. The first section is composed of short summaries of the more than 70 ethical codes considered. These summaries are organized into the professional branch or discipline the code covers. The second section is a longer presentation of the code, sometimes reproducing it in full, and in other cases extracting salient sections, with links to each of the ethical codes in the original.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Module 4 - Introduction
Stephen Downes,

Welcome to module 4, covering the topic of ethical codes. This introductory video talks about some of the general issues around ethical codes in analytics and AI, and about half way through the subject is introduced by means of a presentation with slides. We talk about the motivations for ethical codes, the roles they play, who writes them, who they apply to, and what they contain.

Web: [This Post]

Ethical Codes and Learning Analytics
Stephen Downes, Human and Artificial Intelligence for the Society of the Future, 2021/11/02

The growth and development of learning analytics has placed a range of new capacities into the hands of educational institutions.This increased capacity has raised a range of ethical issues addressed by developing an ethical code of conduct for practitioners. Such codes of conduct are drawn from similar codes in other disciplines. This paper consists of an analysis of ethical codes from other disciplines. Some authors assert that there are fundamental tenets common to all such codes, but this analysis argues that while there is some overlap, there is no set of principles common to all disciplines.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Principled Artificial Intelligence: Mapping Consensus in Ethical and Rights-Based Approaches to Principles for AI
Jessica Fjeld, Nele Achten, Hannah Hilligoss, Adam Nagy, Madhulika Srikumar, Berkman Klein Center, 2021/11/04

This report is worthy of study in its own right. It is a compilation and comparison of a number of statements and codes of ethics in the field of analytics and artificial intelligence. It suggests that there are core values and principles that underlie all of them. But does such a consensus really exist? If we look at specific interpretations of each term (for example, 'accountability', on page 32) we find that 'consensus' ranges to as low as 17%, and never higher than 69%.

Web: [This Post]

Values
Stephen Downes,

We focus on the values and priorities that can be found in ethical codes of conduct . These are things that might be found in the ethical principles described by the code, if the code is structured that way, or the things that are explicitly described as good or desirable by the code. When people state that there is a ‘universal’ or ‘general’ agreement on values, it is usually with respect to a subset of the items listed here that they refer.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Seeking the elusive ethical base of teacher professionalism in Canadian codes of ethics
Bruce Maxwella, Marina Schwimmer, Teaching and Teacher Education, 2021/11/23

"Two studies were conducted to explore codes of ethics as a source of insight into the ethical base of teacher professionalism. The results point to specific limitations in using codes of ethics as a pedagogical resource in ethics education for future teachers."

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Synopsis

What distinguishes ethical codes from other forms of ethics generally is that while they may assign duties and responsibilities, these are assumed voluntarily by virtue of being a member of the profession. To become a nurse is, for example, to adopt as a personal code the ethical norms and values that define that particular profession. 

The purpose of this chapter is to showcase the wide range of ethical codes that are employed in different professions, some of which are directly related to the use of analytics in that profession, and others which describe ethics in the profession generally. This diversity is not widely recognized; there is often a presumption, if not an explicit assertion, that the values in these ethical codes, and in ethics generally, are common, core, and universal.

This statement from Metcalf (2014) is typical: “There are several principles that can be found at the core of contemporary ethics codes across many domains:

  • respect for persons (autonomy, privacy, informed consent),

  • balancing of risk to individuals with benefit to society,

  • careful selection of participants,

  • independent review of research proposals,

  • self-regulating communities of professionals,

  • funding dependent on adherence to ethical standards.”

Whether or not one actually believes these principles are foundational, it remains a matter of empirical fact that they are not universal and not core. The same can be said for similar assertions of universality made elsewhere (for example: Pitofsky, (1998:7), Singer & Vinson  (2002), CPA (2017)).

This chapter is a substantial survey of dozens of ethical codes. Though every attempt has been to keep this treatment brief, it is nonetheless not brief. By laying out the evidence I endeavour to show, rather than argue, that there is no common foundation to the ethical codes that govern different professions. 

We’ll begin with a quick overview of what we mean by ethical codes, discussing the purpose and operation of ethical codes, some of the components of ethical codes, and the ways in which these codes differ from each other. Then we’ll take an extended look at the issues raised by the codes. First we look at what problems the codes are trying to solve, or in other words, what the purpose was for writing the codes. Then we look at a length list of values and priorities revealed in the codes. After this examination, we consider the question, to whom are the professionals described in the codes obligated? Finally, we ask what bases and foundations underlie the recommendations in the codes.

The full set of ethical codes is displayed, with readers invited to notice the ways in which they differ from each other, in Appendix 1: An Ethical Codes Reader, with references linking back to the full code in question, for further study as desired by the reader.