ACM Updates ‘Hippocratic Oath of Computing’

ACM Updates ‘Hippocratic Oath of Computing’

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), “the world’s largest scientific and educational computing society” (Wikipedia), is one of the most influential voices in computing ethics.

Periodically they issue a Code of Ethics. The last time they updated it was in 1992, when few people had heard of the Internet or World Wide Web, and as such is a bit outdated.

Now the ACM has issued an updated Code for computing ethics, a result of more than two years of revision. While not quite as prominent in computing circles as the Hippocratic Oath is for medical practitioners (whom, contrary to popular belief, rarely in fact ever swear the oath formally), and not well known in general, the ACM Code of Ethics is as close as there comes to such an ethos.

Given the social debates taking place over the role and responsibilities (if any) of major platform hosts and providers, in terms of managing misinformation, moderating abusive behaviors, whether or not to develop technologies which may have violent or oppressive uses, or otherwise, this updated code may take on a renewed significance, and indeed seems to anticipate this by its design.

It’s definitely worth a read, and should perhaps be mandatory teaching for aspiring computing professionals and researchers.

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