Reflection on Required Ethics Reading
- Reflect about interfaces
- This assignment must be done individually.
This assignment must be done individually.
Create a new Microsoft Word or text document named YourUserName-A8. Please do not use any other filename!
As you know in this course, we are learning about robotics as well as ethical choices.
This assignment is designed to guide your reflections on ethics and safety with a particular focus on interfaces.
The word "interface" can be defined as, "The place at which independent and often unrelated systems meet and act on or communicate with each other." From: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interface
When speaking of a "user interface," one typically means the program which allows a human to interact with and communicate with a human user.
As I was preparing this assignment, I happened across this a news article published in the Louisville Courier-Journal that Steel Dynamics was fined for the death of a 21 year old worker who died on August 3, 2009 because of the poor design of the interface between the steel forging furnace and the assembly line at the Steel Dynamics plant. Interestingly, there were numerous known safety violations at Steel Dynamics which were known since 2006 when a similar incident occurred, yet apparently no steps had been taken to improve the situation. Meanwhile, Steel Dynamics has been raking in record-high profits for their shareholders that quarter.
- Required: Read the entire article from the Louisville Courier-Journal: Steel Dynamics Fined on the death at Steel Dynamics.
- Required: Read the first two paragraphs (or more) of Steel Dynamics Profitability which I downloaded from the Steel Dynamics website.
- Required: After doing the above required readings, do the following in YourUserName-A8:
- Write a paragraph or two about your reaction to these two readings.
- In a separate paragraph discuss whether you think a $240,000 penalty is sufficient given that the company had a net income of $69 million for the third QUARTER of 2009 alone when you know they were alerted to these safety violations as early as 2006.
on what would have happened to you personally as an individual if you
had known that you owned a toxic furnace for three or more years
and had then had personally paid a person to stick his or her head
into your toxic furnace which had then directly caused his or her
death. Then write a paragraph on why think corporations should or
should not be treated differently than individuals in such situations.
- Required: Read the article Killer Robot Interface
- Optional: Note that as an optional refresher of the background for this reading, you are welcome to re-read the following articles which have already been read in class: 
- Silicon Valley Programmer Indicted For Manslaughter: Program Error Caused Death by Robot
- Developers of "Killer Robot" Worked Under Enormous Stress
- "Killer Robot" Programmer Was Prima Donna, Co-Workers Claim.
- "Killer Robot" Project Mired in Controversy Right from Start
- Silicon Techtronics Promised To Deliver a Safe Robot
- Required: After doing the above required Killer Robot reading(s), add the following to YourUserName-A8:
- Write a 1/2 page summary of the article Killer Robot Interface, being sure to describe the ethical problems described in the fictional article.
- Choose two computer programs which you have used, one with an intuitive easy to understand user interface, and one which you feel has a confusing user interface.
- Write a two paragraph reflection on these two user interfaces, explaining why the one is easy to understand and why the other is not. Reflect on Schneiderman's eight golden rules. Does the less intuitive user interface violate any of these rules? If so, explain how. If not, add a 9th rule which you feel would improve the user interface for your less intuitive choice.
- Finally, in one or two paragraphs discuss any similarities you see between the real worker's death at Steel Dynamics and the fictional worker's death at Silicon Techtronics.
 Case of the Killer Robot: Purpose and Permission