Oh, the crunch enhancer? Yeah, it’s a non-nutritive cereal varnish. It’s semi-permeable. It’s non-osmotic. What it does is it coats and seals the flake, prevents the milk from penetrating it. Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Technology is for the benefit of humans. It has been ever since some human figured out a better way to trap a gazelle or plow a field.

Except for my wife, who hates soggy cereal, how much benefit is there in cereal varnish?

Or the product manager at Facebook working with engineers and psychologists figuring out ways to keep attention fixed on the app so that an additional few ads can be served up?

Or the engineers doing some fantastic work on digital voice recognition which could do great good for disabled people or help in dangerous situations instead figuring out how Alexa can spy on people 24 hours a day to accumulate data on when people are home to be sold to telemarketers or to governments to find terrorists or political opponents?

Ethics at work concerns developing things for the benefit of people and society. But weapons developed for defense could also be used offensively. Something good could be used to corrupt us. Or undermine us.

Ethics is both what we do and what we fail to do.

Mostly ethics should be in our awareness. At the end of the day one question we can ask ourselves, “What did I do for the good today? Where did I fail to act where I could have made a difference for the good?”

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