Overview of your task
A briefing paper is a “summary of facts pertaining to an issue and often includes a suggested course
of action” (Developing a briefing paper 2021, p. 1).
Developing a briefing paper 2021, Manitoba Education Department, viewed 17 February 2021,
This assignment requires you to write an Ethics Advisory Briefing Paper on the context and nature
of an ethical dilemma currently facing the ICT industry.
You will be provided a choice of 5 ethical dilemmas and must select ONE of the dilemmas
provided. Your chosen dilemma will become your research question. You will attempt to make
recommendations (your ‘advice’ to the briefing paper reader) based on an ethical
principle/framework from the ICT30005 unit theory to guide your discussion and help validate your
ultimate answer to the research question of your chosen dilemma.
What are ethical dilemmas?
Ethical dilemmas are complicated challenges that cannot be easily solved. There are often different
courses of action that can be followed and no matter what course of action is taken, some ethical
principal(s) will invariably be compromised. There is no perfect solution.
Ethical advisory papers identify the ethical issues and provide reasoned ethical arguments to help
decision-makers make decisions on topics they might not have time to research thoroughly. A
briefing paper is a means of providing decision-makers with the information they need on issues
they are responsible for. A Briefing Paper recommends and proposes solutions, improvements and
approaches based on evidence and argument.
The challenge in writing a briefing paper is to be thorough but also succinct, and this requires a
writer to judge what information to include and what to leave out. A briefing paper distils complex
information into a well-structured document so that a reader gains a full understanding in a few
pages. You should assume the audience for your briefing paper includes your ICT colleagues and
managers. The aim of your briefing paper is to bring your colleagues and managers up to speed on
an ethical dilemma pertinent to the ICT industry and make yourself more informed on that issue
and its relevance to the ICT industry.
Steps in the process
1. Choose ONE of the 5 ethical questions below:
I. Is whistleblowing justified?
II. Which category of road crossing pedestrians should an autonomous vehicle run over?
(Consider the Trolley Problem with autonomous vehicles)?
III. Should employers monitor their employee’s social media usage?
IV. Should lethal autonomous weapons (commonly abbreviated ‘LAW’) be
programmed with some measure of ethics to reduce collateral damage and to
prevent them from striking certain areas?
V. Should Google have dissolved its AI ethics board?
2. Develop your research plan.
3. Action your research plan by delving into the topic thoroughly and take notes which will
help you in writing your briefing paper.
4. Conduct a Critical Analysis (See Critical Analysis pdf and the Week 1-3 On-Campus
5. Provide definitions and characterise the background to the topic.
6. Identify appropriate ethical theories, guidelines and frameworks for your dilemma.
7. Conduct a PEAS Assessment (See PEAS Framework in the Week 1-3 On-Campus Workshop
8. Review Steps 4-7 to comprehend the ethical dilemma.
9. Decide on an ethical recommendation based on your research.
10. Compose (write) your briefing paper and provide the reference list.
11. Submit your briefing paper on time.
Important information on referencing
The briefing paper should include 10 sources (distinct documents/articles you have referenced).
These sources should be based around a mix of academic publications such as books, texts, industry
magazines and peer-reviewed conference proceedings and journal papers, and not just internet
references. The validity of the material you provide is strengthened by inclusion of articles from
peer-reviewed literature; often internet material is simply in the form of ‘opinion pieces’, lacking validation and generally written to support the author’s possibly biased opinions. References to core
information (rather than opinion) on Wikipedia are no substitute for references to the original
source material upon which the Wikipedia article was written – it is always better to read the
source, and then to refer to it and I hope that you will follow this advice.
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