These resources were created by students in my Comm 327 course, New Media Campaigns at Loyola University Chicago.
Remote control airplanes replacing news crews, computers developing feelings, people digitally killing other people; this sounds like it could be the start to a science fiction movie. Or three. Well, quite the contrary, actually. These topics are regarding the speeches that will take place during the Ethics of Machines and Games section of the 5th Annual Digital Ethics Symposium at Loyola University Chicago this weekend.
Now of course, computers aren’t actually developing feelings, as far as I know. But who knows, with the technology advances we are seeing in society today, we might not be far from having to deal with that possibility. David Gunkel, author of The Machine Question: Critical Perspectives on AI, Robots and Ethics, will be speaking at the Symposium on this issue, futuristic as it may seem. He will entertain questions like: Can intelligent machines like computers or robots have moral responsibilities? Do they deserve moral consideration? Can and/or should they be held responsible for decisions and actions?
Unlike the distance we experience from the futuristic problems of “The Machine Question,” drone journalism and video game violence are two issues being discussed in the Symposium that are facing society right now. Katy Culver will speak about drones in the national airspace and the issues associated with drone journalisms. Drones could change video journalism substantially because they can easily get footage that would be impossible, or possibly dangerous, for a reporter on foot to attain. They can also get closer to the action than helicopter footage ever could. However, drones are also a bit controversial as they can easily be used for more malevolent purposes like invasion of privacy. Culver will be discussing these issues and debates in detail so that we can become educated in the ethics and bylaws as drones are becoming more popular and readily available for anyone.
Most of the popular video games now typically involve some sort of killing or acts of violence against others either as the main point of the game or as a side plot. Many of the most popular video games in America, including Grand Theft Auto, Halo, Assassin’s Creed, and Call of Duty, all involve killing or violence as a main objective. One of them even has the word “assassin” in the title. There are definitely concerns that come to mind when kids play these games, such as, what kinds of complex processes are going through their minds that lead them to making the decision to kill or act violently against another person? Is whether it is virtual or not irrelevant? Kishonna Gray will be speaking about the “Moral and Ethical Dilemmas Associated with Killing and Acts of Violence in Video Games” on Friday for all of us who play these video games and want to identify and challenge the more basic and potentially dangerous implications they possess.
To learn more about each of these topics and speakers, use the resources below as a guide:
Drones in the National Airspace – Katy Culver
- Blog providing resources, research, and opinions on using drones for journalism (written by Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications): http://www.dronejournalismlab.org/
- Intro to Professional Society of Drone Journalists: http://www.dronejournalism.org/
- Drone Journalism Code of Ethics and Bylaws: http://www.dronejournalism.org/learn/
- Outline of the positives and negatives of legal drone journalism: http://www.cjr.org/cover_story/eye_in_the_sky.php
- Speaker: Katy Culver
- Assistant Professor and Associate Director, Center for Journalism Ethics
- Currently studying the ethical implications of data, sensors and drones in journalism and emerging ethics in online commenting
The Machine Question – David Gunkel, Northern Illinois
- Overview of Gunkel’s book: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/machine-question
- Examination of Gunkel’s book: http://www.niutoday.info/2012/08/27/morality-for-robots/
- Gunkel’s website for his book: http://machinequestion.org/news.html
- Speaker – David Gunkel
- Presidential teaching Professor of Communication studies at NIU
Moral and Ethical Dilemmas Associated with Killing (or committing violent acts) in Video Games
- Gray’s website: http://www.kishonnagray.com
- Gray’s Critical Gaming Lab: http://www.criticalgaminglab.com/cfp-video-games-culture–justice.html
- Article, “Moral Choice” in video games: http://mprcenter.org/review/shafermoralchoicegames/?print=pdf
- Article, “Creating Ethics in Video Games” (examines several specific games): http://www.adamjthompson.com/thought/CreatingEthics.html
- Article, “Ethically Notable Video Games: Moral Dilemmas and Gameplay”: http://www.digra.org/wp-content/uploads/digital-library/09287.13336.pdf
- Speaker – Kishonna Gray
- Assistant Professor in the School of Justice Studies
- “She has a media focus on video gaming. By examining game content and culture, her most recent book, Race, Gender and Deviance in Xbox Live, examines the reality of women and people of color within this gaming community.”