Ethics In Information Technology: Augmented Assessment Answer

Answer:

The Analysis:

The newspaper report discusses the augmented reality game ‘Pokémon GO’ and its craze that has followed after its release. The players of the game roam around in the real world to capture Pokémon moving in the virtual world. Players move around PokeStops to collect rewards and Pokémon which result in flash mobs. Such a PokeStop in a park in St. Claire Shore, Michigan was presented in the article presented by Kartikey & Mehrotra (2016). The author discusses the ruckus created by the players and the futile steps taken to reduce it. Although complaints were lodged little has been done to stop the menace.

What is Going on?


In the news report, the authors discuss menace due to augmented reality (AR) game named ‘Pokémon GO’. The AR game, a scavenger hunt allows players to hunt for virtual world ‘Pokémon' in the real world with the help of their mobile phones. The application uses maps and GPS of player to inform location of nearby Pokémon and once found the creature appears on the phone superimposed to the real world (Dunleavy & Dede, 2014). This has resulted in a flash mob at a different location around the countries. One such place St. Clair Shores, Michigan has been presented to discuss the ruckus created due to the game which has resulted in the filing of a lawsuit against its makers. The players in a craze to collect Pokémon, trespass properties and even hide in bushes to avoid police so that they can play the game after the park has been closed (Michigan couple sues Pokémon maker claiming neighbourhood unsafe with gamers, 2016).

What are the Facts?

Augmented reality (AR) is the superimposition of the virtual world over the reality. AR, unlike virtual reality, overlays virtual information upon the real world instead of creating an artificial environment (Dunleavy & Dede, 2014). Due to the superimposition of virtual over real, the game becomes addictive thus resulting in the menaces. There have been many incidents related to this game like the game takes to weird unknown places. The game has been so famous that a player can take ‘Uber' to catch a Pokémon. There had been more than 15 million downloads in the USA itself, which give us an idea how famous this game has become (Should You Believe Those Pokémon Go Download Numbers? - BBC News, 2016).

What are the Issues?

The game collects an enormous amount of data and needs full access to GPS and camera, which could be used spying (Smith & Chris, 2016). The game has resulted in driving accidents and trespassing as the players are using the program while moving on the road, even an armed robbery of the players have been reported (Rogers, 2016). In Vancouver the Pokémon were sighted even in police headquarters, thus forcing them issue caution for city residents.

There had been similar problems everywhere the game had been released thus forcing governments to ban the games in their country. The countries who have banned the game are Iran and Malaysia. Even countries like Canada are weighing the option of banning the game (Hounslow, 2016).

Who is Affected?

The reach of the game has been massive, and its inception has seen and exponential growth. Although the exact figure of the download is not known an estimated 10 million downloads has been done till July 2016 (Pokémon Go fastest mobile game to 10M downloads, 2016). People who download the game start scavenging for the creatures. This has resulted in huge footfall at various places affecting the life of the people surrounding players. Although the report of revived economy at different locations has been recorded, still the problems keep arising due to its addiction (Serino et al., 2016). Players of the game had been involved in accidents and have caused community disturbances. Hence governments like the USA are proposing regulation for public safety (Staff, 2016).

What are the Ethical Issues and their Implications?

Augmented reality games are relatively new to the users. The games like Pokémon GO are so persuasive that players are ready to cross lines to achieve targets. If the intentions of the programmer are not adequately understood, this could lead information theft. Taking responsible for one's action is a great human trait. But the game which has been the causing of a ruckus to its players and the neighbourhood will never take responsibility for the actions (Heimo et al., 2014). This puts Pokémon go in an awful shape. AR offers options that have been preprogrammed in it. Hence the interactions are limited, and the players have little options. This makes the game very persuasive and more harmful.

What Could be Done about it?

The game, as can be seen, is very persuasive, and steps should be taken to restrict the damage it has done. Due to the menaces created the communities are even pelting the players to fend them off the neighbourhood (New shortstop for Pokémon Go fanatics, 2016), even pellet guns are shot to fend the players (Allen, 2016). Some governments are banning the game, and some are creating regulations to limits its use and ensure safety.

What are the Options?

Damages caused due to players have created concern among the general mass of people. The death and the accidents that have been caused should be taken seriously. Some options that can be taken to deter the damages are:

  • Strict rules against law defaulters
  • Total ban on the game
  • Restricting the game to fewer places

Which Option is the Best and Why?

The laws of the land are the best way to deter one from committing a crime, but the addiction to game reduces the consciousness of the player and thus is ineffective (Pase, 2012). A total ban on the game is a viable option as it entirely eliminates the possibility of mistakes but this way the user experience is limited and the people will not be able to experience AR (Staff, 2016). The best available option is to design games in such a way that keeps the players away from nuisance spots thus removing possibility of any accident. 

References:

Allen, S. (2016). Woman Shoots at Pokemon GO Players with a Pellet Gun. CW33 NewsFix. Retrieved 13 August 2016, from https://cw33.com/2016/07/26/woman-shoots-at-pokemon-go-players-with-a-pellet-gun/

Dunleavy, M., & Dede, C. (2014). Augmented reality teaching and learning. In Handbook of research on educational communications and technology(pp. 735-745). Springer New York.

Heimo, O. I., Kimppa, K. K., Helle, S., Korkalainen, T., & Lehtonen, T. (2014, May). Augmented reality-Towards an ethical fantasy?. In Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, 2014 IEEE International Symposium on (pp. 1-7). IEEE.

Hounslow, Lucy. "Gotta Catch 'Em All: How Business Can Cash In On Pokemon GO". The Sydney Morning Herald. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

Miller, T., Birch, M., Mauthner, M., & Jessop, J. (Eds.). (2012). Ethics in qualitative research. Sage.

New shortstop for Pokémon Go fanatics. (2016). Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 13 August 2016, from https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/inner-west/rhodes-pokstops-removed-from-park-after-residents-complain-about-thousands-of-pokhunters-in-their-neighbourhood/news-story/7465c4ba035af4dca20b5ca8385cedbe

Pase, S. (2012). Ethical Considerations in Augmented Reality Applications. In Proceedings of the 2012 EEE International Conference on e-Learning, e-Business, Enterprise Information Systems, and e-Government.

Rogers, "Death By Pokemon? Public Safety Fears Mount As 'Pokemon GO' Craze Continues | Fox News". Fox News. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

Serino, M., Cordrey, K., McLaughlin, L., & Milanaik, R. L. (2016). Pokemon Go and augmented virtual reality games: a cautionary commentary for parents and paediatricians. Current opinion in paediatrics.

Should You Believe Those Pokemon Go Download Numbers? - BBC News. BBC News. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

Staff, Editorial. "Iran Becomes The First Country To Completely Ban Pokémon Go". NextShark. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

Staff, Editorial. "Pokémon GO Has Gotten So Hot That The Government Is Looking To Regulate It".NextShark. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

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