John Weckert (BA – University of Adelaide, Graduate Diploma in Computer Science – La Trobe University, Master of Arts – La Trobe University, Doctor of Philosophy – University of Melbourne) is an Australian philosopher who has been an influential figure in, and substantial contributor to the field of information and computer ethics. He has published many books and journal articles outlining his research in this field.
He is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Nanoethics: Ethics for Technologies that Converge at the Nanoscale, as well as the Australian Computer Society (ACS) representative on the Technical Committee on Computers and Society. He works closely with the ACS on various projects, including developing case studies to accompany the ACS Code of Ethics, with the case studies linking to clauses outlined in the CoE. He is also the manager of the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) Program on Emerging Technologies: IT and Nanotechnology at Charles Sturt University. He is currently the Senior Professor of Information Technology in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University.
Education and Profession
- Ph.D. University of Melbourne, 1985, Philosophy.
- Diploma of Computer Science, LaTrobe University, 1985.
- M.A. LaTrobe University, 1977, Philosophy.
- B.A. (Hons)(First class) University of Adelaide, 1974, Philosophy.
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- Professor of Computer Ethics, School of Humanities and social Sciences, Charles Sturt University
- Professorial Fellow, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, an ARC funded Special Research Centre
- 2003–2006: Professor of Information Technology, School of Information Studies
- October – December 2006 – Erasmus Scholar NTNU, Trondheim, Norway and Linköping University, Sweden
- January – March 2004 – Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Dartmouth College, USA
- 2000–2002: Associate Professor of Information Technology
- July 1991 –December 1999: Senior Lecturer in Information Technology
- September 1986 – July 1991: Lecturer in Computing, Charles Sturt University
- 1985–86: Lecturer in Computing/Philosophy, Melbourne College of Advanced Education
- 1977–84: Lecturer in Philosophy, Melbourne College of Advanced Education
- 1976: Senior Tutor in Philosophy, University of Western Australia
- 1975: Tutor in Philosophy, Monash University
Contributions to Information Ethics
Weckert has contributed many ideas to Information Ethics, specifically relative to the relationship between the philosophical and applied sides of Information and Computer Ethics.
Trust in an Online Environment
In the article, Weckert focuses on a few key issues regarding the concept of trust and if and when it may be possible in cyberspace. Trust has both cognitive and non-cognitive aspects: one may feel a certain way about another's trustworthiness without believing it in their mind. Trust opens one up to a degree of risk and is thus indispensable to friendship. Weckert opposes trust with monitoring by arguing that in order for trust to exist there must be limits on monitoring. He argues that a lack of community values or online social norms makes the internet less trustworthy but this obstacle may dissipate over time. He also addresses the hurdles that online anonymity and disembodiment put in front of online trust.
In terms of the effect trust has on the average person (or digital representation of a person) in an online environment, Weckert's ideas apply similarly. He assesses some factors relevant to video gaming, where trust is often an issue, specifically when playing against human opponents. In his 2005 article, he specifies some methods for obtaining online trust, and his second method focuses on how to do so in the context of e-commerce. Near the end he mentions that developing trust in areas such as chat groups is not as much of a problem because not as much is at stake. This is also true in some cases with respect to online gaming. While gaming certainly does not place as much at stake as a financial transaction, players sometimes have a very strong connection to the game or some part of the game such as their avatar, and for this reason trust is an important factor for them within the game.
Trust in Relation to Cheating
Weckert's work with online trust also has significant implications on cheating. Due to the increased sense of community and closeness associated with the establishment of trust in an online environment, occurrences of cheating are likely to decline. In Mia Consalvo's 2007 article on gaining advantages in video games, she states that one sense of cheating can be defined as "violating the spirit of the game." The "spirit of the game" is less likely to be violated if each player in the virtual world has some type of trust that the others will respect the game in at least a similar sense to their own. By definition, the spirit of the game would not be violated by the players (or at least minimally violated), therefore by definition this would mean that cheating would at least decline.
In addition to his work related to trust, Weckert has contributed to many other areas within Information and Computer Ethics. Recently, he has begun research on the application of the precautionary principle to nanotechnology. This research involves a careful analysis of the real and potential risks of developments in nanotechnology, as well as an examination of just what the precautionary principle is.
Weckert has published both books and scholarly journal entries. This is an abridged version of the list of his work, as he has contributed to many other publications including guest editorships, book chapters, conferences, talks, and professional magazines.
- Weckert, John (2007). "Giving and taking offence in a global context". International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction.
- Weckert, John; Moor, James (2006). "The precautionary principle in nanotechnology". International Journal of Applied Philosophy 20: 191–204. doi:10.5840/ijap200620214.
- Weckert, John; Dalgarno, Barney (2006). "Child pornography and deception on the Internet: some ethical considerations". Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 4: 173–182.
- Bowern, Mike; Burmeister, Don; Gotterbarn; Weckert, John (2006). "ICT integrity: bringing the ACS Code of Ethics up to date". Australian Journal of Information Systems 13: 169–181. doi:10.3127/ajis.v13i2.50.
- Ferguson, Stuart; Salmond, Rachel; Al-Saggaf, Yeslam; Bowern, Mike; Weckert, John (2005). "The use of case studies in professional codes of Ethics: The relevance of the ACS experience to ALIA’s Code of Ethics". Australian Library Journal 54.
- Burmeister, Oliver K.; Weckert, John (2003). "Applying the new Software Engineering Code of Ethics to Usability Engineering". Journal of Information, Communications and Ethics in Society: 119–132.
- Weckert, John; Al-Saggaf, Yeslam (2003). Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 1 (1): 21–29.
- Dick, Archie L.; Weckert, John (2003). ""A Philosophical Framework for Library and Information Science", by John M. Budd (A review article)". Library Quarterly 73: 73–77.
- Weckert, John (2002). "Lilliputian computer ethics". Metaphilosophy 33: 366–375. doi:10.1111/1467-9973.00232.
- Rooksby, Emma; Weckert, John; Lucas, Richard (2002). "The rural digital divide in Australia". Rural Society 12: 197–210. doi:10.5172/rsj.12.3.197.
- Weckert, John (2001). "The Control of Scientific Research: The Case of Nanotechnology". The Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics.
- Weckert, John (2001). "Computer ethics: future directions". Ethics and Information Technology 3: 93–96. doi:10.1023/a:1011833607572.
- Weckert, John (2001). "IT research and development: should there be control?". Australian Journal of Information Systems 8: 63–67.
- Miller, Seamus; Weckert, John (2000). "Privacy, the workplace and the Internet". Journal of Business Ethics 28: 255–265. (reprinted in Robert K. Miller above).
- Rogerson, Simon; Weckert, John; Simpson, Chris (2000). "An Ethical Review of Information Systems Development: the Australian Computer Society’s Code of Ethics and SSADM". Information Technology and People 13: 121–136. doi:10.1108/09593840010339853.
- Weckert, John (2000). "What is so bad about Internet content regulation?". Ethics and Information Technology 2: 105–111.
- Ferguson, Stuart; Weckert, John (October 1998). "Duty of care: emerging professionalism of can of worms?". The Library Quarterly.
- Scott, Jan; Weckert, John (1997). "Helping the User to Understand: Dynamic Explanations". AI Applications 11: 19–29.
- Weckert, John (April 1997). "Intellectual property and computer software". Business Ethics: A European Review: 102–109.
- Weckert, John; Davis, Richard (1997). "Artificial Intelligence in Natural Resource Management in Australia". AI Applications 11: 16–18.
- Weckert, John; Adeney, Douglas (February 1996). "Censorship on the World Wide Web". Australian Library Review 13.
- Weckert, John; Ferguson, Stuart (1993). "Ethics, reference and expert systems". Australian Library Journal 42.
- Johnston, Mark; Weckert, John (1991). "Machine learning for library monograph selection". Expert Systems for Information Management 4.
- Weckert, John (1990). "Functionalism's impotence". Philosophical Inquiry 12.
- Weckert, John; Cooper, Clare (1990). "Artificial intelligence, expert systems and librarianship: a review of the literature". Australian Library Review 7.
- Johnston, Mark; Weckert, John (1990). "Selection advise: an expert system for collection development". Information Technology and Libraries 9.
- John, Weckert; Cooper, Clare (1989). "Expert systems and libraries". Riverina Library Review 6.
- Weckert, John (1986). "The theory-ladenness of observations". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 17.
- Weckert, John (1986). "Putnam, reference and essentialism". Dialogue 25.
- Weckert, John (1984). "Is relativism self-refuting?". Educational Philosophy and Theory 16.
- Moor, James; Weckert, John (2007). Nanoethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology. MIT Press.
- Al-saggaf, Yeslam; Weckert, John. Online communities in Saudi Arabia. Rowman and Littlefield.
- van den Hoven, Jeroen; Weckert, John, eds. (2007). Information Technology and Moral Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
- Weckert, John, ed. (2007). Computer Ethics. Ashgate.
- Allhoff, Fritz; Lin, Patrick; Moor, James et al., eds. (2007). Nanotechnology: A Maelstrom of Ethical and Social Issues. Wiley.
- Rooksby, Emma; Weckert, John, eds. (2007). Information Technology and Social Justice. Idea Group.
- Weckert, John, ed. (2004). Electronic Monitoring in the Workplace: Controversies and Solutions. Idea Group.
- Weckert, John; Al-Saggaf, Yeslam (eds), Selected papers from the Computers and Philosophy (CAP) conference, The Australian National University, 13 October – 2 November 2003. CRPIT, vol 37: Australian Computer Society, Sydney.
- Weckert, John; McDonald, Craig, eds. (1992). Intelligent Library Systems: Proceedings of the Intelligent Library Systems conference, Charles Sturt University, September, 1992. Centre for Information Studies (CSU).
- McDonald, Craig; Weckert, John, eds. (1991). Libraries and Expert Systems,. London: Taylor Graham. (Proceedings of the Libraries and Expert Systems conference, Charles Sturt University – Riverina, July 1990).
- "2004 World Technology Awards Winners & Finalists John Weckert".
- "Trust in Cyberspace".
- Consalvo, Mia (2007). "Gaining Advantage in Videogames".
- "John Weckert's curriculum vittae".