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Question 1: Is there an Ethical Dilemma?

Read the case study below and then briefly list and discuss any ethical issues related to the people mentioned by name in the scenario (there are a number).

(Maximum 1 typed page)

 Question 2: Four-step Ethical Analysis and Decision Making Process

 Do the more structured ethical analysis and decision making process (as done in Practice Class week 5, following the procedures outlined in Kallman and Grillo). Complete this analysis using the headings below:-

 Step I. Understand the Situation (Note: Italics are used for explanations in the following)

  1. a) List and number the relevant facts

< Just list the facts of the given situation – not your opinions – just the facts>

  1. Which of these raise an ethical issue? What is the potential or resulting harm?
    1. List the stakeholders involved

Step II. Isolate the Major Ethical Dilemma

 Step III. Ethical Analysis


  1. If action in Step II is done, who will be harmed?
  2. If action in Step II is NOT done, who will be harmed?
  3. Which alternative results in the least harm?
  4. If action in Step II is done, who will benefit?

  1. If action in Step II is NOT done, who will benefit?
  2. Which alternative results in the maximum benefit?

Consequentialism Comments (on the choices at C. and F.):

  • Comment on the observations that you made in Consequentialism>

Rights and Duties:

  1. List relevant abridged rights and neglected duties.

Rights and Duties Comments:

< Comment on the observations that you mad in Rights and Duties>

 Kant’s Categorical Imperative:

  1. If action in Step II is done, who will be treated with disrespect?
  2. If action in Step II is NOT done, who will be treated with disrespect?
  1. Which alternative is preferable?
  2. If action in Step II is done, who will be treated unlike others?
  3. If action in Step II is NOT done, who will be treated unlike others?
  4. Which alternative is preferable?
  5. Are there benefits if everyone did action in Step II?
  6. Are there benefits if nobody did action in Step II?
  7. Which alternative is preferable?

 Step III Discussion

– that is make your decision on who benefits, who has their rights neglected and who will be treated with disrespect/unlike others, etc. This is where your opinion and justification can be made!>

 Step IV. Making a decision

  1. a) Make a defensible ethical decision
  1. List the steps needed to implement your defensible ethical decision
    1. Solves the major ethical dilemma, and
    2. Solves other dilemmas that you have identified.

 Maximum of 1,000 words

Case Study – Transcript

Nirmal was a bright data scientist working at a private company called Moonlight Inc, a provider of software to major retail companies in Australia. His job at Moonlight included designing artificial intelligence algorithms. He had developed a sound reputation both within and external to Moonlight for being proactive (always trying to anticipate a problem before it happened) as he tried to provide solutions to organisational problems related to customer purchasing preferences. He maintained a keen interest in and had an extensive knowledge of all the problems concerned with Moonlight’s foray into artificial intelligence.

As Nirmal was excited by his work, he pursued his interests in artificial intelligence at home on his own computer. Over a period of time, Nirmal developed an artificial intelligence program which simulated the analytical skills of human experts. As there were many competitors vying for market share in this lucrative environment, Nirmal realised that, to make his program stand out from other competitors, he would design it and make it operate in a cloud environment.

Nirmal continued developing his program: he used open-source software and purchased extra cloud storage capacity to continue developing his design. As the program neared completion, Nirmal dreamed of creating a start-up company that would take his prototype and upgrade it to be a commercial distribution: marketed for different sized companies, no matter how complex the data structures involved.

 The basic features of the program, for which Nirmal was very proud, included:

A sophisticated Graphics User Interface (GUI) Help screens and graphics for every activity

The development of neural networks to assist with deep learning in natural speech processing

It could recognise purchasing behavior of customers

Additionally (one of the features that Nirmal was most proud of) there was an extreme logic feature. The program could generate a worm to capture bank account details from employees to assist with managing their credit card debt. He had successfully tested this on Moonlight’s systems.

Having completed as many tests as possible at home, Nirmal then approached his manager, Julie, the Head of Data Analytics at Moonlight, offering his program to Moonlight at a discount price, as his first customer. Nirmal was aware that Moonlight had captured enormous quantities of data but the company struggled to make sense of this at times.

Julie expressed many concerns about his program. She told Nirmal that he had in fact developed an extremely dangerous program. “If Moonlight were to use this program it would open a Pandora’s box of issues. Moonlight won’t buy this program! In fact I am sure that Moonlight wouldn’t touch it even if it were free! It’s just entirely too dangerous as the program could go rogue and make decisions without human oversight.”

Nirmal was shocked. He considered his program to be an unquestionable asset. How could Julie take it on herself to refuse it? He decided to give up his dreams of making money and, instead, became a consultant in his own time by releasing his program (source and executable) on various social media sites and providing help to

prospective users on the program’s features. On deciding to release the program, he published it under the name Know-ITand consulted under the name Khan Jones. Nirmal then became very busy for the next few weeks – consulting on social media as Khan Jones during the evening and working at Moonlight during the day. After a few weeks Julie heard about Khan Jones and decided to investigate Know-IT. Julie instantly recognized the program that Nirmal had shown her. When Julie discovered what Nirmal had done and that Nirmal was indeed Khan Jones, she immediately fired him. Nirmal has now been out of a job for two weeks. But there is considerable interest from his program on the internet, and Khan Jonesreceives many new enquiries daily.

Julie’s manager, Harold Simpson, the chief executive at Moonlight (who had privately considered Nirmal to be a bit of a “loose cannon”) has always had a high opinion of Julie and supported Julie’s decision to sack Nirmal with no further review of the case. Harold has just received an urgent email from Mary Smithers, the owner of the company. Mary has been briefed by an independent head-hunter about an innovative developer on social media called Khan Jones. In her email, Mary instructed Harold to find Khan Jones and offer him a position immediately to bring his expertise to Moonlight. Harold, knowing who Khan Jones is, pours himself a strong cup of coffee and considers the situation…


It is important that your ethical analysis is fully supported by providing ethical reasoning for each step/suggestion/conclusion that you performed during your analysis. That is, provide and argue (only ethical arguments will be accepted) each step and/or conclusion/action that you present. Note that these events have happened and cannot be changed however many ethical points can be made as to the conduct of each player, what should/could have occurred, and the consequences of such actions, etc.! Your conclusion must be the solution to your identified major dilemma – along with the relevant supporting ethical reasoning.

The process has been clearly outlined in Tutorial 5, where a case study concerning Landscape was examined using the student worksheet. It is strongly recommended that your analysis of this assignment closely follows the worksheet template – i.e. use the same headings however apply your analysis to the assignment problem. The marking scheme is given on LMS (a summary of the marking scheme is also given below). Additionally there is a proposed solution provided in Tutorial 5 (for the Landscape case study) which outlines the expected detail expected in your submission.

{Note that many submissions will come to different conclusions – the differences that each submission may arrive at is not the real/main issue for this assignment – it is performing (and recording) the logical steps, and, most importantly, your supporting logical (ó ethical) reasoning that you have applied at each step that has led you to that particular (step and final) conclusion.}

Submission Details

Your submission must be made through the LMS.

the “Ethics Case Assignment submission” option.

click on Submit

Under the “Ethics” tab you will see Upload your assignment here and

Your assignment will then go through the Turnitin program to check the work is your own original submission.


Marking Scheme


Question 1: Is there an Ethical Dilemma?

[8 marks]

Question 2: Four-step Ethical Analysis and Decision Making Process


Step I. Understand the Situation

[7 marks]







Step II. Isolate the Major Ethical Dilemma

[3 marks]

Step III. Ethical Analysis





[4 marks]

Rights and Duties

[4 marks]

Kant’s Categorical Imperative

[3 marks]

Step III Discussion

[8 marks]

Step IV. Making a decision



Make a defensible ethical decision

[2 marks]

List the steps needed to implement your defensible ethical decision [6 marks]

Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation, Structure, Referencing

[5 marks]

 Grades for Assignments

 Grades should be available within 3 weeks of the final allowable submission date. Students will be advised via email and on the LMS when assignments are ready for collection.

CSE3| Professional Environment and IT ethics|

In this particular assignment in question1, the student first has to read the case study and discuss the various ethical issues which are related to the people that are mentioned by name within the scenario. The second question involves carrying out a structured ethical analysis and also decision making process.

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