Written Assignment 3
To work on the individual assignment, conduct own research and come up with your own solution, reflecting the concepts discussed in class.
1. Future of Work Scenario
The following scenario has been taken fromSpiekermann, S. (2015). Ethical IT innovation: A value-based system design approach. CRC Press, pp. 22-26.
Please read the scenario on the future of work carefully. A scenario is a possible set of future events. All personas in the scenario are invented and do not have similarity with real persons.
The following personas play a role in the scenario:
It is the year 2030. Stern has a really hard time waking up. “My life is a big mess,” he thinks to himself. As he turns around in his bed, he knows that his bracelet has now signaled to the coffee machine to prepare his morning café latte—a friendly nudge to get up and get going. But Stern does not feel like it at all today.The last six months at his company United Games Corp. were pure hell for him, thanks mainly to an all-star devil named Carly, who seems to get all the honor and attention top management has to give. Shortly after Carly joined the company, she and Stern were staffed together on a new company project. As United Games recently bought a drone manufacturer, the company asked Stern and Carly to define an innovation strategy around the new technology. In fact, United Games invested in technology for small quadrocopters, flying vehicles of about half a meter in length that can be controlled by mobile phones, remote computers, and even voice commands.
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The conflict started when Carly suggested that they use a crowdsourcing approach to get people’s ideas on quadrocopter use cases. This idea was not in Stern’s interest because he had anticipated the acquisition and had a long-standing vision of what United Games could do to leverage the drone’s business potential. In his view, his company should ramp up the drones and sell them to police forces. In fact, Stern had a vision for how United Games could generally evolve to benefit from the highly lucrative e-government market.
The powerful virtual reality worlds United Games created were already a virtual training terrain for military and police officers. So the contacts and sales channels would be there.The quadrocopter purchase was now an ideal opportunity for United Games to sell drones to municipalities, who would be looking to automate and replace some of their costly human interfaces anyways.
But Carly had a completely different idea. To her, United Games was a gaming company, one that brought people joy. That mission had brought her to the company in the first place. So her idea was to market drones to households. Drones could walk kids to school, look like fancy birds (colored in bright pink and blue colors!), and have builtin communication capabilities for people to control them directly through voice commands. Carly said that the timing would allow United Games to be a pioneer in the market and create a global voice-command standard for human–drone interaction. Drones could warn kids of dangerous situations and send real-time video to parents in case they wanted to see what their kids were doing. They could be sent home to fetch stuff in case the kid had forgotten something. The drones would be a bit like the owls from the Harry Potter movies but more beautiful and compliant. Stern thought the whole idea was completely girlish and ridiculous. What would his friends say if he told them over beer that he would now go into the business of turning drones into parrots? “And how do you want to resolve the incredible noise that drones are still making?” he said to Carly.
Stern’s opposition to Carly’s ideas caused their debate to turn vicious. Stern told his colleagues that Carly was a “childish bitch” who did not have the necessary mindset to work for United Games. She did not understand the corporate identity of United Games, which they had worked to define for years. “OK, I shouldn’t have used the word bitch,” Stern thought. But, in any case, he was mad after another frustrating meeting with her.
The next time he walked into the meeting room, he was greeted by her superior smile. “This lofty attitude, this untouchable arrogance,” he told his buddies over lunch. “As if I was a child.” The meeting went as bad as he had expected. But one bright spot from that meeting was that Carly suggested meeting online next time to cheer themselves up a bit. So she came to visit him in his Galactic City facilities in the Star Games VR. He spent a whole week preparing for the meeting, building a 3D simulation of what the military drones could look like and how they could be controlled, including a business case and roll-out strategy. “Anything to convince the lofty lady.” But Carly was not impressed. Instead, she invited him to her virtual Star Games residence on planet Nanoo and had a VR simulation to show him a Heidi-like girl walking through the gardens with a fantasy drone that looked like an owl.
This was enough for Stern. He just felt that no professional means would ever make Carly see reason. And so, while out on joint space flights in Star Games or meeting physically for beers, he started to tell his long-time buddies in the company how he felt. “Enough is enough,” he said, “somehow Carly should leave the company.” His buddies agreed. They also felt that Carly was pretty arrogant and a bit over the top. They needed to find some way to cut her down to size. What about sending a military-style drone to her Nanoo virtual residence while she was there? As a product manager, Stern had access to all accounts in the game and could see where avatars were dwelling in real-time. It would be a great moment for Stern, and it would be completely harmless because it would happen in the virtual world. Second, if Carly knew the game well enough, she would be able to easily defend herself.
Finally, third, they would not have the drone shoot, just hover around her house. She would not know their identities anyways. So Stern and his buddies put their plan into action, performing the attack on a Tuesday evening and having a lot of fun doing it. Afterward, they met for beers and football to cool down and celebrate their victory in the real world. But then hell started for Stern. The next day, his boss called to ask about the progress on the drone project. His boss told him that he really liked Carly’s idea of turning the drones into a nice household device. Pleasure and kids’ safety were great messages for the markets, fitting United Games’ image well.
Two days later, United Games’ human resources (HR) officer dropped by Stern’s Galactic City premises by surprise. First, he chatted about Stern’s recent attention scores. The company’s attention management platform had found that Stern’s attention span to his primary work tasks as a product manager was below average. “You seem to be interrupting yourself too often” the HR representative had said. “But what could I do?” thought Stern. There are simply too many messages, e- mails, social network requests, and so forth that would draw on his attention. So he obviously did not match the 4-minute minimum attention span that the company had set as a guideline for its employees. Employees’ attention data was openly available to the HR department and management in order to deal with people’s dwindling capability to concentrate. Then the HR manager asked for the rest of the activity logs, the encrypted part. Stern felt a bit awkward, but finally he decided that he had nothing to hide. So he handed over the secret key to his data and allowed the personnel officer and his staff to analyze his behavioral logs on Star Games as well as the logs taken in United Games’ real office space.
Encrypted work activity logging was part of United Games’ work terms and conditions for employment. In fact, the integration of activity logging into work contracts in many companies was celebrated years ago as a major achievement of the labor unions. The encrypted activity logging process came as a response to a steep rise in burnout and workplace bullying, which seriously impacted companies’ productivity and damaged people’s health, mental stability, and well-being. A compromise on the mode of surveillance was struck between unions and employers. Prior to these negotiations, employers had conducted video surveillance in a unidirectional way that undermined employees’ privacy while providing no benefits to them. As part of the new process, employee activities and conversations would be logged in all rooms as well as VR facilities and stored in an encrypted way under the full control of employees (in their personal data clouds). With this system no one, not even the CEO of the company, could view the original data. However, when a security incident
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happened, employees were informed and asked to share their data. In particular, though, when serious cases of burnout or bullying occurred, employees themselves could initiate a process of data analysis, handing over their secret key so that a designated representative could recover their data, text, and voice streams, and perform a conflict analysis. Data-mining technology would then look for patterns of behavior typical for mobbing or burnout as well as cognitive and emotional states. The streams could also be used to replay specific situations in which conflict had occurred. However, these replays would occur only in the presence of a trained coach or mediator. This practice had not only reduced bullying in recent years but also helped employees to better understand their own communication patterns and behavior. Finally, the encrypted data was also used to extract aggregated heat maps of the company’s general emotional state. This practice helped upper management to better grasp the true emotional “state of their corporate nation.”
Carly had handed in her secret key and initiated an inquiry into the attack on her Nanoo home. So this was what Stern was to confront today. “Perhaps I have gone a bit too far,” he wondered. “But it is something totally normal for the Star Games anyway.” After all, the idea of the drone attack had come from another colleague of his.Stern slowly walks up to the kitchen. His café latte is not as hot he likes it, and the machine has not put as much caffeine as usual into his cup due to his raised emotional arousal. But never mind. He turns on his Roomba vacuum cleaner, which always cheers him up in the morning by roving around the apartment making some funny sounds, just like a maybug in the virtual world would do. “Perhaps a girlish drone owl isn’t that bad after all,” he thinks. “For sure, I need to offer something to end the war now, anyways.”
1. Create a mindmap of the ethical values touched by the attention management platform of United Games. As part of the mindmap, mark in keywords why these values are affected.
2. Aligned with the ethical values you have identified propose alternative ways (organisational or technical) to support employees of United Games with focusing on their work. (minimum 250 words)
2. Cybercrime Case
You are working as a security manager for “DeepTech”, a tech-company that develops AI algorithms to match freelancers with companies looking for bright talents. Recently, employees in the sales department of DeepTech received the following e-mail:
From: UPS To: Peter Woodstone
Subject: Your parcel delivery
Dear Mr. Woodstone!Your parcel with sender number 345624889 will be delivered today. Click here to track the status of delivery: Go to status tracking
Thank you and best regards, Dunkan MillerUPS Account Manager
a. Develop a structured plan of measures (table format) to protect DeepTech from potential damage in relation to such e-mails.
Unfortunately, despite your plan of measures, one of the DeepTech sales employees has clicked the link in the email and compromised login credentials to DeepTech’s internal system. DeepTech’s biggest business secrets on the newest deep learning technologies are at risk.
b. Which steps do you recommend to the CEO of DeepTech to immediately take after the incident? (min. 300 words)
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