Rethinking the Ethics of Communication (Taming the Machines)
Ethical and epistemic standards for communication have been discussed since antiquity. And since antiquity they have periodically been disrupted by technological innovations, then revised and restored by cultural as well as by legal and regulatory changes. However, the disruptions to standards of communication produced by the mushrooming growth of online technologies in the late C20 may prove particularly difficult to deal with. One source of difficulty can be traced to widespread preoccupation with “freedom of expression” across the past half century, sometimes at the expense of adequate consideration of the ethical and epistemic standards that are essential for those on the receiving end of others’ speech acts, on which adequate communication relies. I shall suggest that legal and regulatory remedies to these problems may prove difficult and controversial.