please read below ITMG481 -week 7 forum

timer Asked: Aug 3rd, 2018
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Your initial post should be at least 250 words.

1. How does a person determine if property ownership is legal, ethical, and moral?

2. How does a person’s background and culture influence a person’s decision-making?

CHAPTER 11: Online Communities, Cyber Identities, and Social Networks In Chapter 11, we examine some challenges that cybertechnology poses for our understanding of concepts such as community, personal identity, and our sense of self. In analyzing these concepts, we focus mainly on three aspects of cybertechnology: social networking services (SNSs), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI). Specific questions include the following: Do online communities, including SNSs such as Facebook and Twitter, cause us to rethink our traditional concept of “community”? How have the kinds of interactions that occur in SNSs, and related online forums, affected our conventional notion of friendship? Do some kinds of behaviors that occur in VR environments, especially in massively multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPGs), raise special ethical and social concerns? What implications do certain kinds of role playing in VR environments have for our understanding of personal identity? How have developments in AI affected our sense of self and our conception of what it means to be a human being? Do at least some AI entities warrant moral consideration? 11.1: ONLINE COMMUNITIES AND SOCIAL NETWORKING SERVICES What, exactly, is a community? Do we need to redefine our traditional notion of community in light of social interactions made possible by cybertechnology in general, and SNSs in particular? Do online communities pose any special social and ethical challenges? We consider these and related questions in this section. 11.1.1: Online Communities vs. Traditional Communities Many people, both young and old, interact in Web-based SNSs, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Foursquare, as well as in professionaloriented networking services such as LinkedIn. Some also participate in one or more blogs (Web logs), while others send instantaneous “news feeds” to friends in the forms of “tweets” via a popular online service called Twitter. Many also communicate with one another through electronic messaging services that include video, such as Skype and (Apple’s) FaceTime. Assuming that you have an account on Facebook, do your “friends” on that SNS comprise a community? To answer this question, we first examine the meaning of “community” in the traditional sense of the term. Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language defines a community as “people living in the same district, city, etc., under the same laws.” Note that this traditional definition stresses the geographical aspects of community by associating it with concepts such as “district” and “city” that have typically constrained community life. So, for the most part, traditional communities are limited by geography. Cybertechnology has made it possible to extend, or perhaps even ignore, the geographical boundaries of traditional community life. This, in turn, causes us to reexamine the concept of community; individuals physically separated by continents and oceans can now interact regularly in SNSs and other online forums to discuss topics that bind them together as a community. Not surprisingly then, more recent definitions of “community” focus on the common interests of groups rather than on geographical and physical criteria. What, exactly, do we mean by online community? Howard Rheingold (2001) defines online communities as “computer-mediated social groups”; he describes his experience in joining the WELL (Whole Earth’ Lectronic Link), an early electronic community, in 1985: The idea of a community accessible only via my computer screen sounded cold to me at first, but … [f]inding the WELL was like discovering a cozy little world that had been flourishing without me.… The WELL felt like an authentic community to me from the start, because it was grounded in my everyday physical world. WELLites who don’t live within driving distance of the San Francisco Bay area are constrained in their ability to participate in the local networks of face-to-face acquaintances.… I’ve attended real-life WELL marriages, WELL births, and even a WELL funeral.1 Rheingold points out that because of the social contracts and collaborative negotiations that happened when members met online, the WELL became a community in that setting. He notes, for example, that in the WELL, norms were “established, challenged, changed, reestablished, rechallenged, in a kind of speeded up social evolution.” When the members decided to get together occasionally at physical locations in the greater San Francisco Bay area, the WELL became a “hybrid community,” spanning both physical and virtual space. But some “pure” online communities also continue to thrive along side the hybrid communities. As Michelle White (2002) notes, these electroniconly forums also seem like “real communities” because they offer their members “social exchange, emotional support, and learning environments.” Do users find as much enjoyment and satisfaction in participating in online communities as they do in traditional ones? Mitch Parsell (2008) cites a survey showing that 43% of members of online communities claimed to feel “as strong” about their online communities as their traditional or “real world” communities. 2 He also believes that this may be due to the enhanced nature of the Web— what some now refer to as “Web 2.0”—which is very different from the early Web, primarily because of the interactive aspects of the experiences it makes possible Analysts disagree on exactly which criteria differentiate Web 2.0 from the original Web, but most agree that the kinds of services made possible by SNSs and blogging sites have significantly altered the way users interact in online communities.3 (Recall our description of some key differences between the early Web, or “Web 1.0,” and Web 2.0 environments in Chapter 1.) 11.1.2: Blogs in the Context of Online Communities A very popular mode of online communication for both young and older Internet users is a forum called the blog (or Web log). According to the (online) Merriam Webster Dictionary, a blog is “a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.” How do blogs facilitate interactions in, and function as, online communities? While some blogs function as online diaries, others provide commentary on a particular topic or news story. Based on their topics, blogs are often organized into categories such as personal blogs, political blogs, corporate blogs, health blogs, literary blogs, travel blogs, etc. Recall our discussion of the Washingtonienne scenario in Chapter 1, involving Jessica Cutler’s blog; as a type of online personal dairy, her blog would fall under the category “personal blog.” Blogs can be maintained by either individuals or organizations. The community of blogs is often referred to as the “blogosphere.” Online communities such as myBlogLog and Blog Catalog connect bloggers, whereas search engines such as Bloglines, BlogScope, and Technorati assist users in finding blogs. Blogging has become popular because it is an easy way to reach many people, but it has also generated some social and ethical controversies.4 For example, we saw in our analysis of the Washingtonienne scenario (in Chapter 1) that a number of privacy-related concerns arose, which affected not only Jessica Cutler but also the six men implicated in her personal online diary. Other controversies arise in response to political blogs— for instance, some bloggers have been responsible for breaking news stories about political scandals and thus influencing public opinion. However, some of these bloggers also had political agendas to advance and were eager to spread negative stories about politicians whose views they opposed, and in some cases these stories have not been accurate. Controversies affecting political blogs are examined in detail in Chapter 10, in connection with our discussion of democracy and cybertechnology. One question worth noting before we conclude this section is whether bloggers, especially those who write and maintain influential blogs, should be held to the same standards of accuracy, accountability, and liability as professional online journalists. Many bloggers claim that they are not journalists and thus should not be held to professional journalistic standards. Critics, however, argue that bloggers have certain “ethical obligations to their readers, the people they write about, and society in general” (A Bloggers’ Code of Ethics, 2003). Unfortunately, an examination of this debate in the detail it deserves is beyond the scope of this chapter. Our analysis of blogs in this section has focused mainly on their role as online communities. 11.1.3: Assessing Pros and Cons of Online Communities Have online communities had an overall positive effect on communication and interaction? Not surprisingly, arguments have been advanced on both sides of this question. (Tavani 337-339) Tavani, Herman T. Ethics and Technology: Controversies, Questions, and Strategies for Ethical Computing, 4th Edition. Wiley, 2012-11-26. VitalBook file.

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