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Dear Ethix – Issue 18

I see your recent ad [InfoWorld, May 14, 2001] featuring Microsoft’s Ling. To me, mentioning Microsoft and ethics together is the ultimate oxymoron. Any credibility for your organization is instantly and forever gone. This says to me that this is another effort to put lipstick on a bulldog. Forget it!
Gary Stanfill

Editors’ Note: What IBTE is doing is creating a conversation among people and groups that don’t normally talk with each other. We have published Ethix conversations with Lew Platt (former CEO of HP), Phil Condit (CEO of The Boeing Company), Dan Ling (Microsoft VP of research), and Carl Mitcham (Professor at Colorado School of Mines). This range represents technology builders, business leaders who use technology, and those who challenge the direction of technology. It cuts across the business, technology, and academic communities.

We believe it is vital to allow people to voice various points of view and not dismiss those on any side of the conversation without a hearing.

I visited your web site for the first time today after seeing your ad in InfoWorld. I was impressed by the quality of the dialog among business, technical and philosophical leaders. The book reviews were very helpful. I am most concerned about the lack of ethics education in our colleges and universities. Ethics should be a required subject, especially in business and technical programs. Young people need to be aware of ethical issues and acquire the skills to make good ethical decisions.
Laura Ellerbrake

I really enjoyed your interview with Leroy Hood. Fascinating topics. His summary of how biology and IT are converging is very eye-opening. In the article, you also mention that you were on a National Academy group to report on the future of IT. Sounds quite interesting. Has the report been published?
Saeed Paydafar
Los Angeles CA

Editors’ Note: The report is entitled Making IT Better: Expanding Information Technology Research to Meet Society’s Needs (National Academy Press, 2000). Ordering info is at www.nap.edu.

I respectfully disagree with Milton Friedman’s statement of “Corporate Responsibilities” as a “Subversive Doctrine.” I have a large number of relatives who live in Western Massachusetts and the Hudson Valley. Pittsfield, MA, is now a dead town since GE closed their factory 5 years ago, leaving behind a PCB-polluted Housatonic river, a higher than average cancer rate, no tax base and a real estate market in free fall. Just as a person cannot live in complete isolation, a business is part of a symbiotic system. Let’s not forget that if profit maximization is the only goal, then the most efficient means of production is slavery (minimum labor costs) and nomadism (move on after the land stops producing).
Philippe Jeanjean
Hewlett-Packard
Burlington MA

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