The Ethical Software Architect

As the prison sentence of Volkswagen software engineer James Liang has shown, software architecture can have far-reaching legal and ethical consequences. And although few software architects will ever be involved in ethical dilemmas of the magnitude Mr. Liang had to deal with, most of us will at some time or other be involved in architectural choices with ethical impact. As software becomes ubiquitous, its impact on privacy, transparency, equality, or general happiness and well-being of people is felt by everyone. In this tutorial, presenters first explain why software architects should care about ethics, and then hand them some tools to help navigate the quagmire of ethical dilemmas. Together, we explore some stories—scenarios that any software architect can run into in their daily work. At the end of the workshop, we discuss ways in which we can all become more ethical software architects.

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