CSE5003 - Assessment 2: Ethics Case Study Essay (Individual)

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Purpose   

  • This assignment focuses on the ethical considerations related to emerging technologies and their usage. It delves into the ethical dilemmas surrounding the deployment of these technologies, particularly concerning algorithmic biases that may favor specific races or genders.
  • In this assignment you will write a 3-part report to analyse and respond to the ethical concerns around the topic (using ethical frameworks upon which to evaluate it).
  • The assignment is to be delivered/submitted online through LMS. Your paper should include analysis of the issue and the response in a carefully considered series of

 Format   

This assignment should be written in a neat, professional, and engaging manner using report format, meaning that you need to develop coherent, well-supported and logical arguments following a basic report structure.

Case Study

PredPol Predictive Policing Software: An Ethical Case Study

PredPol is a predictive policing software utilized by law enforcement agencies to forecast potential crime hotspots based on historical crime data. Developed by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Santa Clara University, PredPol aims to assist police departments in allocating resources and preventing criminal activity. However, the use of PredPol has sparked ethical debates surrounding issues of bias, fairness, and individual rights.

Facts:

  • PredPol is a predictive policing software developed by researchers from UCLA and Santa Clara
  • It utilizes algorithms to analyze historical crime data, time, location, and crime types to generate predictive models identifying potential crime
  • Critics have raised concerns about potential biases in PredPol algorithms, particularly in the data used for
  • The use of PredPol has raised questions about fairness and equity in policing practices, with some arguing that it perpetuates disparities in the criminal justice system by targeting marginalized communities
  • Policymakers and civil liberties advocates have called for greater ethical oversight and regulation of PredPol, advocating for transparency, community engagement, and addressing bias concerns in algorithmic decision-making.

Conclusion:

The case of PredPol presents complex ethical considerations surrounding the use of predictive policing software. As students analyze this case study, they are encouraged to explore the ethical implications of algorithmic bias, fairness in law enforcement practices, and the balance

between crime prevention and individual rights. By critically evaluating these issues, students can develop a deeper understanding of the ethical challenges inherent in the application of technology in criminal justice contexts.

Questions 

Response Part 1: Establish the facts (300 words)

  1. How did the development and deployment of PredPol Predictive Policing Software influence law enforcement practices and strategies?
  2. What were the specific concerns raised regarding bias, lack of transparency, and reliability of PredPol algorithms, and how did these concerns emerge over time?
  3. How did stakeholders, including policymakers, civil rights organizations, and communities, respond to the implementation of PredPol Predictive Policing Software?

Response Part 2: Player and Team Response (600 words)

  1. What are the ethical implications of using PredPol Predictive Policing Software in terms of potential biases in algorithmic decision-making and their impact on marginalized communities?
  2. How does the lack of transparency surrounding PredPol algorithms contribute to ethical concerns related to accountability, fairness, and individual rights?
  3. In what ways does the use of PredPol in law enforcement raise questions about the balance between public safety and civil liberties, particularly in communities disproportionately affected by predictive policing?

Response Part 3: Your evaluation of the outcome (600 words)

  1. Based on your analysis, how do ethical frameworks such as consequentialism and virtue ethics inform the evaluation of the outcomes of PredPol implementation in law enforcement practices?
  2. Considering the ethical concerns raised, what alternative approaches or modifications to PredPol Predictive Policing Software could address issues of bias, transparency, and accountability?
  3. How do the actions taken in response to ethical concerns surrounding PredPol align with broader ethical principles and values, both within the criminal justice system and society at large?

Strategies for Approaching this Assignment  

When considering this assignment, you need to answer the above 3 parts.

With any series of events – particularly when the issues at large are diverse, contentious, and hotly debated it is important that you remain impartial to the issues when you analyse it.

There will be many ethical issues involved with this assignment – however it is of critical importance that during your analysis you actively seek out the primary (i.e. the major or most important) ethical dilemma that is involved.

The basic way to determine which is the main (major) ethical dilemma is to list all the ethical issues/dilemma’s you can that are involved with the case in question, then, determine which ethical dilemma/issue that, if resolved, solves all or most of the other dilemmas or ethical issues than are involved in the case. Whichever ethical dilemma achieves this is the main ethical dilemma, which is what is required in Part 2, section 1 above.A clearly outlined example is given in our Ethics tutorial.

You will notice that if a surface analysis is performed – the main ethical dilemma is generally not detected, and it is only when a deeper analysis is performed that the major dilemma then becomes very evident/visible – and it is that dilemma that will generally solve many of the other ethical dilemmas. You may observe that many of these other dilemmas simply evaporate because of solving the main (or major) ethical dilemma.

Once having determined the main ethical dilemma you can then proceed with section 2 of part 2 – refer to and briefly summarize 3 cases in support of the gaming industry’s use of power or 3 cases against the use of the power.

In Part 3 you are required to do an ethical analysis. The process/procedure to follow is clearly outlined in Table 2 of the handout Ethics Frameworks (found in LMS).

To aid you a template to follow is given in Ethics Student Worksheet. Once you have finished your ethical analysis then discuss your viewpoint in the subject. Did your viewpoint change at all after doing a complete ethical analysis?

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