The Good Life




“What is best?”
Both spaces AND tabs, on alternating lines
“What is the good life?”
Spending the entire sprint refactoring your teammates' code
“How should I live?”
Outsource your job to India and spend all day on TikTok
“How should I behave towards other people?”
Interrupt them when they have their headphones on
“What is the purpose of life?”
Replacing everything with JavaScript

Ethics can provide a moral framework

9 out of 10 people would
throw the switch,

but only 1 in 10 people would
push the large man.


"Dogs > Criminals > Cats" - MIT


"Male Doctor > Female Doctor" - MIT

Volkswagen modified 11 million cars with software that would detect when they were being tested, and change performance to pass emissions tests.

As a result, these engines emitted nitrogen oxide pollutants up to 40 times above what is allowed by US emissions standards.

Air pollution causes 40,000 early deaths per year in the UK alone.

In August 2017, a former Volkswagen engineer was sentenced to three years in prison and fined $200,000 for his part in the scandal. Several others are still facing charges.


‘“Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department,” says Wernher von Braun.’ — Tom Lehrer

Nobody is exempt from having to behave ethically

Eyes emoji

Use reminders
to help developers make
ethical decisions

codes of ethics

Code of Ethics of the American Society of Civil Engineers

  1. Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public and shall strive to comply with the principles of sustainable development in the performance of their professional duties.
  2. Engineers shall perform services only in areas of their competence.
  3. Engineers shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.
  4. Engineers shall act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest.
  5. Engineers shall build their professional reputation on the merit of their services and shall not compete unfairly with others.
  6. Engineers shall act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity, and dignity of the engineering profession and shall act with zero-tolerance for bribery, fraud, and corruption.
  7. Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers, and shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision.

Computing codes of ethics:

  • Association for Computer Machinery
  • Australian Computer Society
  • British Computer Society
  • Computer Ethics Institute

Source: Patricia Realini - JSConf EU 2018

Communicate expectations

Empower developers
to feel able to say no


Ethics checks

Would you be happy for everyone to know
the decision you’ve made?

Do you think the consequences are acceptable?

Would you recommend the same course
of action to others?

Encourage developers
to meet users

This is just the beginning


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