Don’t Talk To Me About Ethics

As part of my BCS membership I receive the IT Now magazine, which appears to be published whenever they get round to it. I assumed it was quarterly, but the last one I received was back in April and I think it’s more frequent than every 6 months.

Now the blurb in the front states it is "sent to more than 63,000 IT professionals" but there’s two things wrong with that statement. Firstly it may be sent to more than 63,000 people, but I suspect the actual readership is more along the lines of double-figures. Secondly the title of "IT professionals" must be a very loose one, judging by some of the ridiculously over-simplified articles within. I think you can be classed as an IT professional if you know someone who works in PC World.

This "latest" issue has a focus on computer ethics and towards the back is a self-written advert by some computer science professor touting his new book. It obviously thinly-disguised as a useful article, but the content really grated on me.

His main beef was that we live in a world full of electronic devices which have been unethically designed. To illustrate this remarkably tenuous point, he picks the most obvious one going: his telly remote control. Eh? Apparently, because he’s too dim to work out which way round his remote control should be (this is a university professor, remember), that means it has been unethically designed.

I think it’s unethical for the country’s leading IT body to be publishing such crap, but I don’t get 10 column inches to shout about it, do I? I just make do with my blog.