Morally and ethically speaking

The Technojungle is literally “in your face” every day, and being so complex, it is difficult to truly understand what is going on, including whether the any moral or ethical boundaries are being crossed. 

Prior to the pandemic, I recall hearing of controversies over whether the major social media platforms should remove hate speech. The social media companies maintained that it was not possible to identify who would be posting hate messages and could not filter-out hate messages. Really? I thought. That sounds like more bovine scatology to me. They further maintained that they were simply providing a platform and were not in the business of moderating what went on. I heard an expert in an interview state that, in Germany, you are not allowed to mention anything about, for example, Nazis. He said, you can do an experiment. Change your location on the social media platform to Germany and watch all those sorts of messages disappear. During the pandemic I watched as censorship became very prevalent and information disappeared. Of course they can do it, they just don’t want to. What do you think the moral and ethical approach should be?

These books have raised quite a large number of issues relating to the Technojungle, so have you begun to notice any possible creepy or concerning circumstances or situations that raise a red flag in your mind? How about the fact that very large, dare I say monstrous, Technojungle corporations, and even governments, are tracking and tracing you, collecting vast amounts of personal data and information about you, and selling it, or using it to manipulate you?

In my mind I have a hard time viewing this, and many other Technojungle activities, as being in the least way moral and ethical; do you feel the same way? Is nothing safe and private or off limits from Technojungle corporate profiting? Is it right to even design Technojungle systems, that is online services and platforms, with the primary goal of prolonging the time users are connected to the system and to suck information from users, sometimes even when they are no longer logged in? Where is the integrity in this?

When people began sending messages to me using a Technojungle messaging application that was part of a social media platform I did not car to use, I looked for the ‘Log Out’ button. There wasn’t one. Soon people began using another messaging platform. The first social media company didn’t like that, so they bought the second one. Still no Log Out. I’ve noticed that, on many systems where you login, the way out is often very small and insignificant, even buried somewhere obscurely, in some hidden menu. I guess they hope you won’t notice and forget to logout. I guess those companies hope that you will, when you go looking for a Log Out or Sign Out button, simply give up. I think Technojungle corporations should encourage good online practices in the Technojungle by making logout obvious. Instead, I wonder what sneaky or even sinister reason could there be to keep connected to their system. ]

These large Technojungle corporations require a great deal of capital from investors and must ensure a return of profit at any cost—even costs to humans. Once the cogs and gears of the company get turning, is it possible to stop the competition and greed that develops? Could these be technobeasts that require constant and eternal feeding? 

Morally and ethically speaking, can we view many of these Technojungle corporations as having principles and operations morally and ethically hostile toward ordinary humans? In the past, people have avoided, even boycotted, corporations that were environmentally unfriendly, so could we do the same for those which are humanly unfriendly—having questionable morals and being unethical? Now that we have a more authentic overview of the Technojungle, are we not morally obligated to demand corporations adopt means of acting right and correct toward humans?

What can happen if we don’t begin to act? We’ve seen what can happen when industry operates without concern for the environment. Just the other day I heard of yet another dead whale who washed up on a beach and many pounds of plastic were found in its belly. At one time, entire rivers died due to pollution? Aren’t we in a constant effort to recover and protect our environment? Shouldn’t we do the same for our online environments and our data and information? 

For a very long time people consumed products and services unaware of how they were produced and what the results were from the production and consumption. I remember the environmental movement beginning when people started looking back to industry and demanding the corporation be more environmental conscious and, moral and ethical? At first, corporations couldn’t see that operating in environmentally ways could be profitable. When consumers flock toward environmentally friendly corporations, the tide does change? Doesn’t everybody win, particularly the planet? 

Can’t we as humans now turn our efforts to the Technojungle and the ways humans are treated and the use of personal information? I began to use a search engine that held the promise of not tracking users. At first, I wondered how good it would be, particularly since there were no obtrusive ads, just a small ad at the top of a search result. It wasn’t long until this service became an option along with all the big boys. I admit that there is a high level of trust required. Unlike polluted air or rivers, it is impossible for me to be sure I am not being tracked and that the service is upholding what they promised to do. I must trust in their morals and ethics.

I am trying an E-mail service from a provider that makes its money from providing enterprise level services to corporations that can afford to pay. I get free E-mail with no tracking or advertising.

There are ways. We need to be aware of Technojungle problems and demand options which we then flock to use. Legislation is beginning to catch up, however traditionally, laws and legislation regarding the Technojungle never seem to keep up. It is up to consumers to be aware and speak up. This is what this book is about. When we look around the Technojungle, see what is really happening and then ask serious questions, aren’t we speaking up? If we don’t get answers that help us in being human beings, shouldn’t we do something. We can speak in many way, including our actions. Remember adopt, adapt, and appropriate? We can begin to more consciously and intentionally appropriate technologies into our lives and to steward better the ones we are already using.

Shouldn’t breaches of trust, particularly when it comes to our personal information being stolen, never be tolerated in any way. Aren’t you astounded when you hear of a breach, or immoral and unethical corporate behaviour, going on without severe penalties? How do you react? Do you close your account and go somewhere else? 

I realize that it can be extremely difficult because our lives have become so interwind with services provided by Technojungle corporations that can operate without restrictions. In other words, they seem to be able to do what they want. Even if you do leave, you may be leaving your connections to relatives and friends. But why do people continue to use the Technojungle products and services of morally and ethically questionable corporations? This perplexes me.

I have mentioned earlier that who we are in the online world of the Technojungle is our information. Do you feel in control of your own information? Or on the contrary, do you feel you have lost control as the greedy Technojungle corporations—technobeasts—devise endless ways to seduce you into surrendering more of yourself to their insatiable appetites? These Technojungle corporations give us cool gadgets and services to play with, but do we know whether someone is surveilling us? Can we ask if it is moral and ethical to provide products and services without some method of ensuring safety and privacy?

Most people appear to still be thinking in analog. If you don’t want someone looking at you through a window of your house, you can use blinds and curtains to hide. To keep people out of your house, you lock the door. Burglars may still get in though. Keep in mind that you don’t exist entirely in the physical world anymore. A growing portion of you is digital and doesn’t exist in the real physical world. When you exist in the digital Technojungle world online, part of who you are is in hundreds of places somewhere out in the cyber Technojungle.

As we have safaried through the Technojungle in these books, we have looked at many issues and discussed many online Technojungle services. Now we must stop and ask if the motives of these corporations are moral and ethical? Very large corporations have risen quickly in the Technojungle and are, for the most part, free to do whatever they want with few, if any, imitations and restrictions. Why aren’t there any laws or legislation to govern how huge powerful Technojungle corporations operate? This is not uncommon. For example, the automobile industry didn’t develop ways to reduce polluting emissions from cars until they were forced to. On the other side of legislation, is each one of us. We force change through our choices.

Some social media services have features that allow for the live broadcasting of video. A man recently went on a shooting rampage killing many people. He was wearing a video camera and streamed the video live over social media. Should the social media platform be held responsible? What would be required to catch an event like this?

Can we expect humans in the Technojungle to generally act in responsible morally and ethical ways? Or, do we need some sort of governing intervention? Morals and ethics can be argued forever and certainly, what is moral and ethical to one person is not for another. Yet, if you are informed about the issues, how can you be a good steward and act responsibly?

There is plenty to consider concerning moral and ethical behaviours by both users of the Technojungle and corporations. Being morally and ethically responsible benefits everyone and civilizes the Technojungle, making it safe and secure. As you safari ask, “How can my behaviour in the Technojungle be more morally and ethically responsible?” Can I seek out and support corporations that hold up high morals and ethics? What corporations do I know of that need to improve their moral and ethical practices? How can I contribute to bringing about moral and ethical change in the Technojungle?

From pollution to protecting a person’s privacy, we humans have a long way to go. Morally and ethically speaking is about speaking up about unjust practices, and this is important if we are to redeem and reclaim that which we may have lost, retain and maintain what we have today, and to protect our humanness and humanity for our future as we learn about being better human beings and living in a world of technology—the Technojungle.

Hopefully you have some ideas as to how you can speak and behave more morally and ethically as you travel along the paths of the Technojungle. Watch carefully for corporations holding high morals and ethics. Now let’s take another journey into AI and human relationships.

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