Code Week 10

Ethics

You may have a brain full of knowledge. However, first of all, ask yourself, “Where is my ethics? And is it in the first place?” Every job occupation and academic area have their corresponding professional ethics and they share some basic and common moral principles as well, which governs a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity.

In China, we say, “做事先做人”(learn how to be a person before to do things). Besides, 活到老,学到老(Learning is a life-long process). It is easy to learn knowledge but hard to learn how to be a good or right person. It is worth spending a whole life to pursue the knowledge of morality which should be the most important thing for you as a civilised human being.

Fire

Data ethics is just the tip is the iceberg. Along human’s history, we are generating data and information all the time. But when it comes to this information age, the Internet and computers made and are making bigger and bigger difference on data. For instance, we were separated and individual sparks which would be gone quickly before the information age, but now Internet collects thousands of millions of sparks together and then it turns to be a ocean of fire. Afterwards, storage becomes a problem. How to keep it safe and sound? How to prevent bad guys from stealing and taking advantage of it to burn someone’s home to the ground? On the other, we also need Prometheus who can bring fire to mankind. That is the question we continue asking when it comes to a thing: what is the use of it. It is a very good question which should carry on and keep us in a state of confusion and searching for other ways to making use of it.

I read the article that Ben shared and is called Ethics can’t be a side hustle.

We need you to work ethically during that day job much more than we need you working with that non-profit.

一屋不扫,何以扫天下?(You don’t even clean your own room. How could I expect you to clean the whole country?) So before making a big non-profit projects for poor people five hundred miles away, please mop up the mess of your own life every day and help your neighbourhood and your community as much as possible. If everyone can act like this, there is no need for help that comes from five hundred miles away anymore.

Nope

I said it was confusing when manipulating a dataset collected by other people or organisations. At the moment, it turns out to be so annoying. Why do they collect and store data like this? Have they never thought about how others would tackle such a mess? Anyway, this pair of shoes doesn’t fit my feet and I wouldn’t like to cut my feet to match shoes(削足适履), either. Thus, I have to make adjustments to shoes (dataset) to harmonize with my feet (exceptions).

Standing on my feet, data visualisation could be quite easy and quick if the dataset is well documented and organised. Also, some students may want to modify raw data and save it to another file. It would be very convenient for later use. Notwithstanding, no matter what file format you would save new file as, data types maybe change more or less in some way, which is another frustrating issue.

Now I come to realise the reason why so many debates (holy wars) about tiny details in programming or coding last for a long period and matter. The standard or universal rules are necessarily needed. Otherwise, communication is restricted and the thing you made cannot benefit or even be understood by others. Of course, no one wants to keep looking for a missing semicolon without sleep for 4 days. Consistency and uniformity not only are of service to you along your life but also enhance the ubiquity all over the world nowadays.