The papers in this e-book provide an interesting insight into the type of thoughts and ideas that are discussed in ETHICOMP as well as the atmosphere and social dynamics within which they are developed. We can thus return to our defining questions: What is special about ETHICOMP? What has ETHICOMP achieved? And how does the ETHICOMP community want to do in the future?
To answer the first question, we believe that one special feature of ETHICOMP is constituted by the specific diversity of disciplines and background it combines. As with IACAP and INSEIT, ETHICOMP is explicitly (and, we would argue, necessarily) multidisciplinary: but more than its sister conferences, ETHICOMP explicitly reaches out and welcomes contributions from diverse disciplines and practices outside academia, most especially from professionals whose work is to design, build, deploy, and maintain specific computing applications in the world at large. This means, secondly, that ETHICOMP aims to generate and disseminate knowledge across various boundaries and divides, and in ways that will be taken up but not only academic readers, but also business and professional practitioners. This leads directly to a third characteristic – namely, that much activity in ETHICOMP shares the aim of making a practical difference. Thinking about ethics and computing is important to understand relevant questions and formulate avenues of action. But it appears to be a broadly accepted assumption by members of the ETHICOMP community that practical consequences should follow from these insights. It is open to debate how successful the community has been in achieving practical change but the intention to achieve it is widely acknowledged.
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