Spring 2023, Vol. 35, No. 1
What are the ethical worries surrounding the education uses of AI tools like ChatGPT? This article explores the challenges of AI and truth, and ruminates over how AI can be more accurate—and whether that will alleviate the ethical concerns.
Will ChatGPT only amplify worries about unethical political communication dating back to Plato’s Phaedrus? This article examines the ethical concerns about AI, truth, and manipulation.
AI represents significant challenges for education. What about its impact on secondary education? This article considers the uses of AI in high school classrooms, and warns of over-reactions to the new and hard to control technology.
AI technologies offer new challenges for the public interest communication practitioner. Is AI going to facilitate more or less ethical content in political and public health campaigns?
As artifical intelligence continues to advance at rapid rates, some chatbots sound convincingly like real humans. But if AI cannot reason ethically, how should that inform the way we develop and engage with the technology?
Since digital technology has become ubiqutious, many of today's children grow up online. Though algorithms and AI help organize content to improve our experiences on the internet, ethical conflicts abound for one of the most inexperienced, and most vulnerable, populations in society.
Emojis can make digital messages more fun, but may also lead to serious misunderstandings. What are the ethical ramifications of such miscommunication and who should be responsible for it?
Upcoming and past meetings, events, lectures, resources, and seminars related to media ethics are shared here. The announcements that follow are based on information supplied by the organizations involved or other sponsors. If you wish to have announcements of future meetings published in Media Ethics, please contact the editor at sstroud(at)austin.utexas.edu.
A growing list of case studies suitable for use in media and communication ethics courses can be found at the Media Ethics Initiative website: www.mediaethicsinitiative.org. The Media Ethics Initiative is based in the Center for Media Engagement in the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas Austin.
Cybersecurity! Privacy! AI Ethics! It was encouraging to see these three topics featured as part of a major plenary panel at the Pacific Telecommunication Conference in 2023. The engaging panelists and moderator were:
Elizabeth Adams, Affiliate Fellow, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), USA (PANELIST)
Scott Shackelford, Professor & Executive Director, Ostrom Workshop, and Indiana University-Bloomington Cybersecurity Program, USA (PANELIST)
John Gasparini, Associate, Corporate Department, Paul Hastings LLP, USA (MODERATOR)
Dr. Shackelford spoke of those AI issues in which there is convergence among many countries but noted that some Asian countries are focused almost entirely upon the security of AI whereas Canada and the US are more concerned about the potential problems with the surveillance of citizens. His own work is focusing upon “cyber-peace,” building a peaceful “no war” zone within the internet aspiring to minimize hacking, cyber-terrorism and other elements of “cyber-war.”
Elizabeth Adams’s research concluded that “trust” must be the key Area within AI practices. She emphasized that AI Ethics committees need to be developed which have full-spectrum representation within the community as well as include those with technical expertise. It is important that companies and institutions have “artefacts” (documents, policies, on-line programs) which are available, consistent, updated, and known to the larger community. Furthermore, she emphasized that AI is an ongoing “practice” (not just artefacts and discussion) which must be constantly mindful, active, growing, and responsible.
These topics and the “usual suspects” within the ethics legacy – fair regulation, sustainability, security, equity, diversity, human rights, racial and gender discrimination, freedom of information, among others -- were discussed and debated at the 45th annual Pacific Telecommunications Council Conference (PTC, ’23). The event occurred from January 15-18, 2023, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu.
The Pacific Telecommunications Council is a global professional organization with over 3500 member representatives from over 45 countries and 300 member companies. Given that PTC engages more than 200 international experts as speakers, and many guests as well, it is not surprising that professional communicators, lawyers, regulators, academics, vendors, and others participated to discuss topics regarding the economics, engineering, impact, policies, laws, growth, evolution, regulation, and infrastructure of the information technology industries within the Pacific region.
PTC’s new CEO, Brian Moon, felt “PTC'23 was the most successful, record-breaking conference to date. The Annual Conference was 20% better than the next year ever. Participants represented 82 countries and were engaged in senior-level business meetings, conference sessions, and networking activities.
PTC President Sean Bergin, who is also the president of AP Telecom, added “The highlight for me at this year's event has been… that the younger generation was extremely well represented at PTC. The future of the industry is definitely in safe hands.”
Many issues were discussed within the atmosphere of “multiple concurrent technological and social revolutions” epitomized by the multi-cloud environment within the context of the ongoing global pandemic.
One important ethical challenge in the Pacific region (and indeed worldwide) has been narrowing if not eliminating the digital divide, especially within developing nations and tribal economies. Such inequities point toward related problems of access, equity, racial discrimination, and limited resources beginning with impoverished and marginalized Pacific communities.
An important panel, entitled “What Makes A Difference: The Impact of ICTS on Development,” addressed related implications and issues. Panelists included:
Heather Hudson, Professor Emerita; Former Director, University of San Francisco; ISER, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA
Nir Kshetri, Professor, Bryan School of Business and Economics, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, USA
Diana Rojas-Torres, Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Universidad de La Sabana, Colombia (PANELIST)
Richard Canevez, Postdoctoral Scholar, School of Communication and Information, University of Hawaii At Manoa, USA (MODERATOR)
Since Kshertri and Rojas-Torres could not attend in person, Hudson expanded upon her paper and relayed how early telemedicine, telecenters, and rural telephony were examples of humanitarian applications of development within what has been called “green light” (pro-social) ethics.
A later panel, entitled “Environmental, Social, and Governance,” also addressed the largest ethical issue of all – sustainability-- as well as issues of fairness, equity, and discrimination. The panelists and moderator were:
Elizabeth Adams, Affiliate Fellow, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), USA (PANELIST)
Mark Gilmour, Chief Technology Officer, ConnectiviTree (Europe) AG, United Kingdom (PANELIST)
John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA, United Kingdom (PANELIST)
Joley Michaelson, CEO & Founder, The Sun Company, USA (PANELIST)
Tara Giunta, Partner; Co-Chair, ESG Risk, Strategy, and Compliance Group, Paul Hastings LLP, USA (MODERATOR)
A major issue of discussion at PTC has always been the tension between security and privacy. Panelists and moderator within the 2023 “Security” discussion were:
Richard Canevez, Postdoctoral Scholar, School of Communication and Information, University of Hawaii At Manoa, USA (PANELIST)
Trisha T. C. Lin, Professor, National Chengchi University, Chinese Taipei (PANELIST)
Monica Nila Sari, Phd Candidate, Keio University, Japan (PANELIST)
Jenifer Winter, Professor, School of Communication and Information, University of Hawaii, USA (PANELIST)
Richard Taylor, Palmer Chair & Professor, Telecommunications Studies Emeritus, The Pennsylvania State University, USA (MODERATOR)
One of the most important ethical issues throughout telecommunication history has pertained to fair recruitment, promotion, and hiring. A key panel addressing the need for greater diversity in the talent pipeline included:
Shirley Brown, Senior Infrastructure Technical Business Developer, Amazon Web Services, USA (PANELIST)
Lauren Deloatch, Project Manager, Sumitomo Electric U.S.A., USA (PANELIST)
Keila Louzada, Director of Student and Program Support, Northern Virginia Community College, USA (PANELIST)
Craig Mathes, VP Safety and Human Resources, Team Fishel, USA (PANELIST)
Quin Jernigan, Manager, Workforce Development, Amazon Web Services, USA (MODERATOR)
Discussions about democracy seem at first to be political but quickly reveal ethical issues as well. “Democratizing” access to wireless was a key panel at PTC ’23. Participants included:
Justen Burdette, Chief Executive Officer, Mobi, Inc., USA (PRESENTER)
Brad Coates, VP, Product + Egineering, Mobi, Inc., USA (PRESENTER)
Meredith Mawhar, VP, Finance + Administration, Mobi, Inc., USA (PRESENTER)
Chi Nguyen, Chief Operating Officer, Mobi, Inc., USA (PRESENTER)
Toni Paracuelles, Chief Strategy Officer, Mobi, Inc., USA (PRESENTER)
Erlend Prestgard, Chief Executive Officer, WG2, Norway (PRESENTER)
Cassandra Sabado-Evans, VP, Stores, Mobi, Inc., USA (PRESENTER)
All of the issues discussed at PTC ‘23 have become quite complicated given their international, intercultural, and pandemic contexts. One must consider the multitude of differing cultural traditions, governments, policies, COVID protocols, legal systems, innovation, adoption rates, and “consumer rights” within each country. Security and privacy have become super-sized international concerns as witnessed by the scandals surrounding Facebook, Google, Equifax, and the hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
PTC has taken a strong stand on ethics and has so indicated in the mission statement. Within its own governance, PTC has also created an Appeals Committee for members who feel there may have been process or ethics violations.
PTC ’24 will also be anchored in Honolulu from January 21-24 and will continue to include dialogue about many of these topics as they are expanded by new corporate and institutional players and by evolving technologies.
Tom Cooper, Professor Emeritus,
Emerson College and Advisory
Council within PTC,
January 19, 2023
A review of The Ethics of Virtual and Augmented Reality: Building Worlds, by Erick Jose Ramirez. New York: Routledge, 2022. 216 pp. $128.00.
|Scott R. Stroud|
|Moody College of Communication/UT Austin|
|REVIEWS/EVENTS EDITOR |
|Anantha S. Babbili||Jane E. Kirtley|
|Ralph Barney||Christopher Meyers|
|Michael D. Burroughs||Grafton Nunes|
|Marvin Kalb||Jennifer Pozner|
|Richard Keeble||Lance Strate|
|Jean Kilbourne||Edward Wasserman|
|Clifford G. Christians|
|Mike Kittross (Editor, 1996-2018)|
|Eric Elbot (Co-editor, 1990-1996)|
|Manny Paraschos (Publisher)|
|Jay Black||Kenneth A. Harwood|
|Tom Brislin||Robert Hilliard|
|Amy M. Damico||Jerry Lanson|
|Deni Elliott||Kaarle Nordenstreng|
|A. David Gordon||Jeffrey L. Seglin|
|Gary Grossman||Jane B. Singer|
|Mary-Lynne Bohn, Accent Design, Inc.|
|WEB DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE|
|Luke Carl Hartman | Web Development | Spring 2023|
Media Ethics is grateful to its sponsors identified below, who are neither responsible for nor in control of our content.
The Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley The Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, has a longstanding commitment to nurturing principled newsgathering and storytelling, guided by a strong dedication to public illumination and civic betterment. Its two-year, immersive master of journalism curriculum includes instruction in professional ethics led by professor and former dean Tom Goldstein and current dean and journalism professor Edward Wasserman, formerly Knight chair in journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University.
The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law is a research center located within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Its primary mission is to conduct research on, and promote understanding of, legal and ethical issues affecting the mass media. The Silha Center also sponsors an annual lecture series; hosts forums, conferences and symposia; produces the Silha Bulletin, a quarterly newsletter, and other publications; and provides information about media law and ethics to the public. Support is provided for faculty research, and for Silha Fellows working on advanced degrees.
The Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign The Institute offers a Ph.D. in communications within the traditions of social scientific research, historic-cultural interpretation, linguistics, and political economy. Its B.S. degree in Media Studies is rooted in the liberal arts. The Institute develops intellectually productive approaches to cultural, political, ethical and social challenges of the global communications economy. Public service and social responsibility are emphasized in the curriculum and research projects. Work in ethics is required of undergraduates and doctoral dissertations in communication ethics are an option.
Facultad de Comunicación, Universidad de Navarra/The School of Public Communication, University of Navarra, offered the first Spanish academic degree in journalism starting in 1958. Since that time, it has offered both graduate and undergraduate degrees in three different sequences: Advertising, Radio, Film and Television, and Journalism. Each sequence includes specific courses involving media ethics.
Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication The Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication is a research center at The Pennsylvania State University College of Communications dedicated to the study and advancement of ethics and responsibility in corporate communication. The Center has awarded over $320,000 to scholars and professionals to support research about ethics and responsibility in public communication.
Kegley Institute of Ethics The Kegley Institute of Ethics is committed to stimulating ethical thought and reflection on the California State University, Bakersfield campus and in our greater community. We host major lectures, panels and workshops, and we sponsor scholarships and research for faculty and students.
Endicott College School of Communications Endicott College strives to instill in students an understanding of and an appreciation for professional and liberal studies through coursework andnapplied learning. The College has a vision for the total development of the individual within a community that fosters an appreciation of diversity, international awareness, community service, and moral and ethical values. For further information see Web Site.
Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, Duquesne University Duquesne University's Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies teaches and conducts research and development in the broad domain of communication studies, including integrated marketing communication, public relations and advertising, corporate communication, intercultural communication, communication ethics, rhetoric, and persuasion in the marketplace. Our departmental foundations are communication ethics, a humanities approach to the discipline, a research and development culture, and ongoing practical engagement with the marketplace.
In addition to the intellectual contributions of our authors, and the financial contributions of our sponsors, Media Ethics would like to express its particular gratitude to:
Bob Gardner, film-maker, scholar, and benefactor, passed away in 2014. But his support of Media Ethics continues, since his latest gift was dedicated to the five-year period 2012-2017, an act of generosity we truly appreciate.
Our hosts at the Institute of Communications Research of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, the past publishers of the magazine, are to be thanked. The current publisher of Media Ethics, the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin and its Center for Media Engagement, are also to be thanked for their gracious support of the magazine’s present and future mission.
These “special thanks” shouldn't be thought of as detracting from our appreciation for The Grand Masonic Lodge of Massachusetts, particularly Grand Secretary Arthur Johnson, Grand Master Roger Pageau, and Assistant Grand Treasurer Craig MacPherson for providing the space and other facilities that enable the Media Ethics office to function.
We also want to give thanks and recognition for the significant support of the following individuals and groups: Randy Bytwerk, Mark Fackler, the Dept. of Communications at Calvin College, Jochen Zeitz, and anonymous individuals. The voluntary donations of each of these friends is extremely important to us.