Thursday, January 28, 2021

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Tonight I attended What could possibly go wrong? Ethics and software development with Fiona Charles and James Christie, hosted by Quare Meetcast

I could listen to Fiona and James talk on this all day. Although they both protested that they are practitioners rather than philosphers, the ethics of the software business is a topic they've both lived and thought long and hard about.

Here's a handful of points that stood out for me:

  • Act ethically for the benefit of society. Not focussing only on the cash, but instead on the quality and value, will make customers happy and result in fewer software-related disasters.
  • Don't be ethical in secret. If you find unethical activity, evaluate your level of comfort in your workplace, and the risk you'd take by blowing the whistle, and then either blow it or leave if you possibly can.
  • It's possible for an organisation to be carelessly unethical. We can help them to avoid this by asking "what could possibly go wrong?" and "for who?"
  • Artificial Intelligence systems are full of opportunities for ethical considerations to leak out. James recommended Been Kim's work on the evaluation of AI and machine learning results, and the inspection of the way the results were generated. 

Overlapping with the content of this meetup, I was fortunate to be in a peer conference with Fiona recently where the ethics around software testing, and ways in which public trust in software could be built and maintained, were discussed. Read a summary of it on the Association for Software Testing web site.

No comments:

Post a Comment