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From the Editor – Issue 48

At the intersection of technology and business lies incredible opportunities and significant pitfalls. The promise of these opportunities can be fulfilled quickly (look at the way PCs changed the office) or can turn out to be more hype than reality (much, but not all of the dot-com activity fits this description). Knowing the difference is often far from obvious at the formative stages. Ethical issues often appear in the new situations at this intersection, presenting challenges where we have no experience.

Ethix was launched in 1998 near the peak of the hype surrounding the dot-coms. That particular issue has come and gone. However, the challenge from information technology is the exponential growth of its base capability leading to new opportunities and issues. So on a regular basis we circle back to talk with leading figures in technology to maintain our insight on what might be the next big thing.

In this issue, our feature conversation is with two leading chief information officers from Fortune 50 companies, Boeing and Microsoft. Other features of this issue also consider aspects of technology. Prabhu Guptara, from UBS in Switzerland, asks some thoughtful questions about what robots in the future might do to service jobs around the world (p. 19). Seamus Phan, technology commentator from Singapore, gives an Asian perspective on technology (p. 17). In my column on p. 4, I analyze the emerging shortfall (again) in IT workers as the IT demand grows (again).

We received a number of open-ended questions in our letters this time, and I responded to two of them in the letters section on p. 3. Gerard Beenen has assembled some book reviews on p. 14, and Kenman Wong offers suggestions for dealing with an unethical (or incompetent?) boss (p. 20). I’ve learned to be careful about attributing bad motives to what can be explained by incompetence!

Roger Eigsti has compiled and commented on items in the news, this time marking the close of one era (the Enron guilty verdicts) and the possible opening of another (the manipulation of stock options) on p. 16. We received a record number of responses to our forum question regarding the connection between personal ethics and business promotions (p.18). Answers to the question start in this issue and are continued on the Web (www.ethix.org).

We look forward to your feedback on this issue.

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Al Erisman
Executive Editor

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