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First, Do No Harm

First, Do No Harm Philos. Technol. (2011) 24:463–465 DOI 10.1007/s13347-011-0056-1 COMMENTARY Vinton G. Cerf Published online: 5 November 2011 # Springer-Verlag 2011 Despite the widely held perspective, which I share, that the Internet and its burgeoning applications have brought enormous benefit in the form of access to information and facilitation of innumerable transactions of all kinds, it is also inescapable that this increasingly pervasive infrastructure can be used in harmful ways. Put another way, this Garden of Eden has its share of snakes. One is rapidly drawn to the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, and Hugo Grotius, among others, for insights. Like many other pervasive examples of infrastructure (e.g., roads, waterways, financial transaction systems), there are opportunities for deliberate (and accidental!) harms to befall the users of these systems. Ethics provides us with ways to view these potential hazards and a rationale for their mitigation. The paraphrase of the historic Hippocratic oath is sometimes rendered: “First, do no harm,” and this might well be an ethical commitment the users, makers, and operators of the Internet and its applications might undertake. If we accept this statement as an expression of moral principle, we would have to conclude that use http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy & Technology Springer Journals

First, Do No Harm

Philosophy & Technology , Volume 24 (4) – Nov 5, 2011

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer-Verlag
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy of Technology
ISSN
2210-5433
eISSN
2210-5441
DOI
10.1007/s13347-011-0056-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Philos. Technol. (2011) 24:463–465 DOI 10.1007/s13347-011-0056-1 COMMENTARY Vinton G. Cerf Published online: 5 November 2011 # Springer-Verlag 2011 Despite the widely held perspective, which I share, that the Internet and its burgeoning applications have brought enormous benefit in the form of access to information and facilitation of innumerable transactions of all kinds, it is also inescapable that this increasingly pervasive infrastructure can be used in harmful ways. Put another way, this Garden of Eden has its share of snakes. One is rapidly drawn to the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, and Hugo Grotius, among others, for insights. Like many other pervasive examples of infrastructure (e.g., roads, waterways, financial transaction systems), there are opportunities for deliberate (and accidental!) harms to befall the users of these systems. Ethics provides us with ways to view these potential hazards and a rationale for their mitigation. The paraphrase of the historic Hippocratic oath is sometimes rendered: “First, do no harm,” and this might well be an ethical commitment the users, makers, and operators of the Internet and its applications might undertake. If we accept this statement as an expression of moral principle, we would have to conclude that use

Journal

Philosophy & TechnologySpringer Journals

Published: Nov 5, 2011

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