Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., former CEO and Chairman of the Board of IBM, stated, “Computers are magnificent tools for the realization of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love, and understanding” (Reynolds, 2019, p. 263). A solid ethical framework is crucial for companies involved in the design and development of software and IT systems. At the very least, companies involved in these endeavors want to avoid poor sales and bad press from bugs or poor design. However, much more is at stake. Companies face potentially massive criminal and legal liability exposures if they make subpar or unethically designed products and services available to the public. Software bugs or poor design within computer systems can produce financially damaging occurrences and could lead to property destruction or even fatalities. To complete this assignment, use the Internet or the Strayer library to locate an example of poor IT design or software errors that led to personal or corporate financial or property loss or to a fatal accident. Write a 3–5 page paper that addresses the following items: Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements: The specific course learning outcome associated with this assignment is: George Reynolds. 2019. (6th ed.). Cengage.

The development of software and IT systems plays a critical role in our modern society. With increasing reliance on technology, companies involved in this field must ensure that their products are ethically designed and free from errors. Failure to do so can result in various negative consequences, including financial losses, property damage, and even loss of life. This paper aims to explore an example of poor IT design or software errors that led to personal or corporate financial or property loss or to a fatal accident, highlighting the importance of ethical considerations in the development of software and IT systems.

One notable example that exemplifies the significance of ethical design in software and IT systems is the infamous Therac-25 radiation therapy machine incidents. The Therac-25 was a medical device used for delivering radiation therapy to cancer patients. However, due to design flaws and software errors, the machine administered radiation doses far exceeding the prescribed levels, resulting in severe injuries and fatalities.

Between 1985 and 1987, several serious accidents occurred involving the Therac-25 machine, leading to the death of three patients and severe injuries to several others. The main cause of these accidents was a software bug that allowed the machine to deliver highly concentrated radiation doses. The software flaw was a result of poor design and inadequate testing, as well as a lack of proper safety mechanisms and fail-safe features.

The Therac-25 incidents highlighted the need for a solid ethical framework in the design and development of software and IT systems. In this case, the lack of ethical considerations led to a series of catastrophic events. The consequences were not only financial and property losses for the company responsible but, more importantly, the loss of human lives and the physical and emotional suffering endured by the victims and their families.

The Therac-25 incidents also demonstrated the potential legal and criminal liability that companies face when their products are poorly designed or ethically flawed. In the subsequent investigations and legal proceedings, it was revealed that the company had failed to adequately address known problems with the machine and had ignored critical warnings from experts and users. This negligence and disregard for ethical responsibilities resulted in significant legal consequences for the company and its employees.

To avoid such incidents and their associated consequences, companies involved in software and IT systems development must prioritize ethical considerations from the early stages of product design. This includes conducting thorough testing, implementing fail-safe mechanisms, and ensuring proper training and education for both developers and users. Companies should also encourage a culture of accountability and continuous improvement, where ethical considerations are actively discussed and addressed.

In conclusion, the example of the Therac-25 incidents serves as a stark reminder of the importance of ethical design considerations in software and IT systems development. Failure to adhere to ethical principles can result in severe consequences, including financial losses, property damage, and loss of life. Companies in this field have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that their products are safe, reliable, and ethically designed. By placing ethics at the forefront of the development process, companies can avoid potential liabilities and contribute to the overall well-being of society.

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