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EG2401 Engineering Professionalism

Final Report
Project 3: Global Positioning System (GPS) and their
Technologies
For: Dr. Md Raisul Islam

Done by Group 2: Liew Yan Bob


Seran Karikalan
Oon Jun Long

A0112518N
A0112490R
A0111839E

Table of Contents
Introduction............................................................................................................... 1
Field 1 The Telecommunications (Mobile Phone) Industry...................................................2
1.1

The effects of GPS (Global Positioning System) Technology on the Mobile Phone Industry
2

1.2

Ethical Dilemma(s) raised by the Implementation of GPS into Mobile Phones................3

1.3

Possible Solution(s) to such Dilemmas.................................................................4

1.4

Impact on Future Generations when New Conditions are introduced............................5

Field 2 The Civil Aviation Industry................................................................................ 6


2.1

The effects of GPS Technology on the Civil Aviation Industry....................................6

2.2

Ethical Dilemma(s) raised by the use of GPS in Civil Aviation Industry........................7

2.3

Possible Solution(s) to such Dilemmas................................................................8

2.4

Impact on Future Generations when New Conditions are introduced............................9

Field 3 The Unmanned Vehicle Systems Industry............................................................10


3.1

The effects of GPS Technology on the Unmanned Vehicle Systems Industry................10

3.2
Ethical Dilemma(s) raised by the Implementation of GPS into Unmanned Vehicle Systems
......................................................................................................................... 11
3.3

Possible Solution(s) to such Dilemmas..............................................................12

3.4

Impact on Future Generations when New Conditions are introduced..........................13

Field 4 The Agriculture Industry.................................................................................14


4.1

The effects of GPS Technology on the Agriculture Industry.....................................14

4.2

Ethical Dilemma(s) raised by the use of GPS the Agriculture Industry.......................15

4.3

Possible Solution(s) to such Dilemmas...............................................16

4.4

Impact on Future Generation when New Conditions are introduced...17

Conclusion.............................................................................................................. 18
References.............................................................................................................. 19

Introduction
The Global Positioning System, or otherwise known as GPS, is a form of technology such
that it encompasses various satellites (at least four or more) in space for which it forms a
navigation system that accurately provides information relating to time and location in all
types of weather conditions, regardless of any obstructions on the surface of the earth.
The GPS is a crucial system for which it provides vital information to those in the military, as
well as commercial and civil consumers around the world. However, as a matter of fact, it
was actually intended for the sole purpose of military applications only before being made
available to the public in the early 1970s.
Today, anyone with a GPS receiver could access the system; and thanks to its function of
providing real-time, three-dimensional positioning and navigation, it is now used all over the
world in a multitude of applications. Such applications will be discussed in the subsequent
sections of this report, for which this report will also discuss how such fields have
successfully reaped the benefits of the GPS and how it has applied these advantages to its
convenience.
Furthermore, while the fact that the implementation of GPS into various fields have definitely
improved the way we live our life in one way or another, however, introducing a new
technology into a field would most often bring about uncertainties in the beginning, as well as
cultivating stark differences in opinions (disagreements) between several different parties.
As such, this report also aims to uncover some of the ethical issues which may be brought
upon by the enforcement of GPS into such field(s), with the intention of highlighting possible
solutions which may bring an end to these ethical dilemmas through some of the analytic
methods which we have learnt throughout the course (e.g. the decision-making chart), and
also to accentuate the implications it may have on future generations when new conditions
are introduced into the scene.

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Field 1 The Telecommunications (Mobile Phone) Industry


1.1 The effects of GPS (Global Positioning System) Technology on the Mobile Phone
Industry
The introduction of the GPS into the world of telecommunications back in the early 70s was
responsible for the evolution of the current generation hand phones and have also changed the
role for which mobile phones play.
Several decades ago, hand phones were extravagantly priced, poorly supported, bulky, and
out of the reach of many. Nevertheless, mobile phones today are so popular in such a way
that you can never run into a single person without one. Landline phones are also increasingly
abandoned in favour of having cell phones instead, which are deemed cheaper and more
convenient. Over time, hand phones accumulated several new features which included digital
cameras consisting of a few megapixels (e.g. 2 Megapixels), along with wireless internet
access technology (e.g. 3G) and subsequently, the GPS too was soon added into hand phones.
The introduction of the GPS technology has affected mobile phones in such a way that it
created many beneficial advantages which were not present back in the days when Nokia
3310 was still popular. An example which explicitly highlights the advantage of using the
GPS in hand phones include the fact that that the traditional 911 system, which often used
house phones to identify the location of the victim, was becoming increasingly inconvenient
as more and more people continued to discontinue their landline in favour of using hand
phones. As such by having cell phones to contact the 911 system instead, operators had to ask
the victim of their location and this was an unnecessary risk to take as location verification
could take a very long time, and to add fuel to flames, life jeopardizing if the victim is in
shock, unable to speak.
Moreover, it is often the case where the victims are unaware of where they are, ultimately
defeating the entire purpose of the 911 system as no assistance would be able to arrive at
scene to help the caller. Nevertheless, with GPS installed into the hand phone, the callers
location can be tracked through GPS, and hence if the caller does not know specifically
where he is, or is incapacitated, emergency services will then still be able to track his or her
location.

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With such advancement in technology, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has
made it a mandatory requirement for the Global Positioning System to be implemented into
mobile phones ever since having seen the benefits of such implementation. However, with
such great advancements in technology always comes great responsibility, and having our
lives revolving around the use of GPS has also brought up a certain ethical issue (problem),
only to be questioned by many.

1.2 Ethical Dilemma(s) raised by the Implementation of GPS into Mobile Phones
While having the GPS technology implemented into the cell phone as a compulsory condition
has definitely made the lives of civilians more convenient, such enforcement also has its
drawbacks.
The most prominent ethical issue raised by the enforcement of GPS includes the fact that a
persons privacy is indirectly being invaded as the GPS is capable of tracking an individuals
movement, regardless of time and place. Many people are unaware of the fact that they are
being monitored continuously by various telecommunication services via satellites, and the
fact that a person can be monitored by something also means that an individual could be
tracked by anything else as well.
This issue of having to accept an unconsented risk can be perceived to be more risky as
this risk is involuntarily imposed onto the public. Having to accept such a risk also includes
the fact that a person is willing to have his or her information to be extracted from his or her
mobile phone via GPS.
Such abuse of technology is clearly highlighted in several modern day mobile phone
applications such as ToySpyApp, Phone Tracker & Glynpse allows an individual to track and
monitor a persons activity, for such activity includes text messages, call history, photos and
even browser history (Fottrell, 2015). Thus, this scenario described here is clearly a violation
of several ethics such as rule utilitarianism, as an individuals freedom is illegally
constrained by another person (or an organization, for that matter). On top of that, GPS
tracking also violates rule utilitarianism in such a way that it infringes our basic rights in
terms of freedom, as a human beings.
To add on, government regulators too face a dilemma while employing GPS technology
into a mobile phone can be a technological boon as it satisfies mainstream utilitarianism,
since the benefit of the society far outweighs that of an individual whereby the
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implementation of GPS does in fact violates the freedom of an individual, but this exploit has
made the life of the society more convenient and saves many lives in the process (ease of use
by the 911 services department). Subsequently, it also difficult for the government to decide
on the limits and extent for which the Global Positioning System violates our freedom. Thus,
it is hard to justify such perception as GPS technology has already manifested itself as
something so integral in our lives.
To sum up, while the compulsory enforcement of GPS technology into mobile phones has
clearly brought about several impacts (such as the ability for relief services to track a person,
and the ability for a person to navigate his way easily), such implementation also has its
downsides, but nevertheless, such downsides can only be considered as a disadvantage if a
person perceives it as so.

1.3 Possible Solution(s) to such Dilemmas


Current solutions being employed to tackle such dilemmas include strict regulations which
limits to use of GPS to a certain extent, and such regulations (ethical codes) include:
I. The E911 Protocol Where law enforcement agencies and emergency response personnel
can only use your phone data to triangulate your approximate location if and only if an
emergency call is initiated;
II. The Provider Compliance Where the FCC mandates that as of 2011, all cell phone
service providers over an eight-year period provide information about coverage areas they
tend to exclude from location services;
Nevertheless, such regulations mentioned above are still considered insufficient and possible
solutions to the aforementioned dilemmas are described in the decision making chart next
page.
Some of the solutions which were included in the decision making chart would facilitate the
process of having to public to be aware of them being tracked, after all such issues will only
occur if and only if the risk of being tracked is involuntarily imposed onto someone who is
unwilling to do so.
Such solutions include having an individual to sign a terms and conditions agreement to make
sure that he or she has fully consented to such risk and thus clearly highlighting the fact the
risk of being tracked is absolutely voluntary
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START: The public is increasingly unhappy with the privacy issues imposed by the
implementation of GPS technology into hand phones; [The boxes below are diamonds]
Will forcing the public
to sign a terms and
N
Are the
conditions form before
public aware No
buying a mobile phone
that they are
make them consent to
being
such risks?
tracked?

Continue to look at
Will disabling
alternative solutions and
GPS in some
compromises which are
devices solve No
agreeable with the
the issue while
public; as well as
still adhering to
defining a clear hard
mainstream
limit to what degree a
utilitarianism?
GPS is able to track a
person

Ye
Ye
s
s

The public has agreed to accept the risk of being tracked while embracing the benefits
of the GPS; and as such the implementation of GPS will not violate any ethics as the
public are willing to do so. (Act Utilitarianism & Virtue Ethics Satisfied)
Introducing a GPS toggle to turn the technology on or off at a persons bidding may also help,
however, this is completely unreliable as unforeseen circumstances would render the benefits
of GPS useless (whereby a person forgets to turn on his or her GPS in desperate times of
emergency).

1.4 Impact on Future Generations when New Conditions are introduced


The introduction of the next generation GPS technology (or otherwise known as the GPS
Block III) starting from early 2016 will no doubt increase the efficiency of the current
generation ones by at least ten folds, thus rendering the technology much more accurate while
covering a larger range of areas (e.g. Mountainous regions). In addition, employing the next
generation GPS would enable enhanced indoor reception, thus allowing a person to be
tracked in a much more complicated manner.
As such, the advent of GPS Block III would allow future generations to use their mobile
phones in an exceptionally sophisticated manner, as further improvements include less
interference from radio signals, increased signal strength, and quality. These newly
introduced conditions here highlights the possibility that a mobile device may manifest itself
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into an object of increasing importance, as the future will become a more dangerous place to
live in and hence next generation will consider a mobile phone, with its enhanced tracking
abilities to be a device of safety, no matter where they could be.
Nevertheless, its substantial improvement in tracking will also mean that mobile phones will
become more dangerous than ever as a person will be easily and accurately tracked by
various people and organizations. As such, it is hard to justify a technology to be good or evil,
when it can be cut both ways by a double-edged sword.

Field 2 The Civil Aviation Industry


2.1

The effects of GPS Technology on the Civil Aviation Industry

Many are aware of the GPS technology that is being used in cars and ships. However only a
handful know that aircraft was the pioneer batch to utilise GPS navigation. GPS in aviation
are used to give precise information on aircrafts current location and its heading. It entered
into aviation industry in 1990, when the United States Air Force (USAF) tested out the GPS
aided combat system during the Operation Gulf Storm. Due to its efficacious guidance, it was
proved as a crucial instrument for warfare and soon installed in all of the aircrafts USAF
owned. It was only made available to civil aviation in the year 1993. Since its introduction, it
has proven its significant benefits to aviation industry at many instances. In September 1983,
Korean Airlines Flight 007 (KE007) which was scheduled from New York to Seoul was shot
down by a Soviet Unions Su-15 Interceptor when it (KE007) accidentally veered off course
and flew over prohibited Soviets airspace. All of the 269 passengers and crew aboard were
dead. This very incident made Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) pronounce the use of GPS in
civil aviation to prevent such accidents from happening again.
The introduction of GPS into civil aviation industry brought numerous amounts of benefits to
Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), airline operators, as well as passengers. From efficient flight
route planning, relative ease of navigation and improved approaches to airport runways are
few of the many paybacks from using GPS.
Prior to the use of GPS, aircrafts used magnetic compasses and landmarks/infrastructures
(waypoints) on the earths surface to navigate to their destination. However, this has quite a
few disadvantages. Firstly, magnetic compasses were not very accurate especially when the
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aircraft is flying close to the poles of the earth. Moreover, magnetic compasses point to true
north rather than earths north. This allowed for the aircraft to veer off from its original path
which posed a set of its own problems. Secondly, using waypoints as a form of navigation
was very inefficient form flying as this did not allowed the pilots to take shortcuts over the
sea. As such, journeys were relatively long and passengers had to pay more for the flight
tickets due to increased fuel cost.
Using the above mentioned triangulation method, GPS satellites communicates with receivers
fitted on the aircrafts and provides information on the altitude, space based position and
speed at all phases of the flight to the pilots, as well as to the ground crews. As such, it is able
to fly above oceans which made journeys shorter and eventually cheaper for passengers.

2.2

Ethical Dilemma(s) raised by the use of GPS in Civil Aviation Industry

Although the benefits provided by the GPS are abundant, the benefits itself pose problems to
the aviation industry. The first thing is over-reliance. GPS had been constantly improved ever
since it was first introduced in the 1960s. There are at a few instances, the reliability of GPS
is still questioned. Just like any other devices which use Radio Frequency (RF) are prone to
RF Interference (RFI), GPS is no exception. Most of the Civil Aviation Industry uses the
band L1 - 1575.42 MHz and L5 - 1176.45 MHz. There are restrictions on the intentional
broadcast of signals near the frequencies stated above. However, there are a few devices
includes but not limited to GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) Jammer (a privacy
protection device) which emits signal near to that of GPS. When these devices are within the
proximity of an airport (ultimately aircrafts), they tend to interfere with GPS signal from and
to the aircraft, affecting its reliability and eventually the safety of the taking off/landing. The
ethical issue here is the overreliance and its vulnerability.
On contrast with the old days where pilots are only allowed to land if the runway is visible to
their eyes, presently systems are available for even when the meteorological conditions
makes the visibility down to a few 10 th of meters. It is called Instrument Landing Systems
(ILS) or CAT 1 (Category 1) Landing approach. These systems use multiple instruments
including the GPS to aid the pilot to land safely onto the runway when the visibility is bad.
Coupled with bad weather and the inference of GPS pose a great danger to the aircraft. Pilots
would be very busy preparing for ILS approach by monitoring instruments such as Artificial
Horizon and Air Speed Indicator during the bad weather that they often forget to see the flag
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(which comes in the instrument panel when it senses discrepancies in signal). In fact this is
what happened in 2004, where a plane crash near Benalla which put to death all six people on
board (Thomas, 2011).
Another vulnerability that aircraft GPS pose is the ability to shut them off intentionally by the
pilots. One example that happened in March 2014 that addresses this issue is the world
famous case of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. It is believed that the pilot was the main
reason for disappearance of the aircraft and he turned off the all the communications with the
ground control including the GPS. As a result, till date no one exactly knew what happened to
the state-of-the-art Boeing 777 as well as the 227 passengers.
Since practically anyone can jam the GPS signal intentionally (GPS, 2014), over-reliance on
GPS by the civil aviation around the world pose a great risk on the innocent people travelling
by air. Here right ethics is violated. Right ethics holds that people have essential rights such
as the right to life, liberty and freedom that other people have a duty to respect. Arguing from
this point of view, due to the flaws of the GPS, people lives are being risked. What makes it
worse is, as discussed earlier in field 1, the risk they are being posed is unperceived risk.
Common passengers are oblivious of the risk possessed from RFI (Ladkin, 1997) and even
they themselves could be the reason for GPS signal jam which might cost their lives.
However, if we just look at it from utilitarian grounds which weighs the benefits of
something to its drawback, GPS may considered as virtuous thing as so far there are only a
couple of accidents involving failure of GPS compared to the thousands of safe flights
achieved by GPS.

2.3

Possible Solution(s) to such Dilemmas

Continuous improvements on the GPS proved to be very successful. Currently, the newer
generation of satellites are being used for transmitting signals. The highlight feature of these
satellites are the use of dual frequency channels to communicate with the GPS receivers such
as the one installed in commercial airlines. This particular feature directly addresses the
above mentioned ethical dilemma regarding the jamming of the GPS receivers signal
through GNSS systems. Instead of using just one frequency channel to transmit the data, it
now uses 2 channels one high and one low. The data transmitted through one channel is
counter checked against the other channel. The use of this increases the reliability and
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minimises the interference by the nearby GNSS and satisfies the utilitarian and virtue ethics.
Even if someone wanted to sabotage the aircraft by using a jammer, the integrity of the new
system will not allow for it. As a bonus this technique also corrects the ionosphere
scintillations issue that causes radio signal degradation.
Another solution, proposed by our group is the use of location and speed indicating GPS
module that should be installed onto aircraft which could not be turned off by anyone during
a flight. Although one might argue that it seems to be disrespecting the pilot not believing
his consciousness. We propose from point of view for which, in the event of the pilot
becomes incapacitated due to unforeseen circumstances, the passengers lives should never be
placed at risk. By using virtue ethics, duty ethics and utilitarian grounds, passengers believe
and trust that they will arrive their destination in safely and piece, it is the duty of the airline
operators and the pilots to transport them out of harm's way. It should not be made possible
where a single person could jeopardise the wellbeing of all passengers.
Moreover, passengers should also be made clear of the potential risks that might arise by their
own actions of using their personal electronic devices which might cause interference to the
GPS systems. Usually what happens in an in-flight briefing is the fact that passengers are just
told to switch off their devices to prevent interference. Most of the unreasonable passengers,
without knowing the extent of their actions, simply ignore the rules stated by the flight
attendant. Our group feels that it is the duty of airline operators to explicate the consequences
which would occur due to the RFI during the in-flight briefing, passengers would be more
mindful of their actions.

2.4

Impact on Future Generations when New Conditions are introduced

Indeed GPS has revolutionized aviation security and it remains to do so as FAA gears the
Next Generation Air Transportation System, (NextGen). The use of Interoperability Signal
systems enables a strong interlink between satellites and GPS transponders located in
aircrafts as well as ground control units. Another channel of communication known as L1c
(an upgraded form on L1 channel) used for communication between A-GPS (American GPS)
and satellites systems developed by other countries such as Galileo (European Union) and
Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QNSS) (Japanese). Coupled with other added features like
advanced Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (TAWS) and Wide Area Augmentation

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System (WAAS) makes sure the aircraft is always at link to the ground support system, gets
complete information on its heading as well as the safe altitude to fly at a given coordinates.
With all these in place, a passengers safety and the flights efficiency becomes unbounded.
As GPS allows more direct routes between destinations, lesser fuels will be burn which
eventually leaves smaller carbon footprint increasing environment and economic
remunerations. People will have more confidence in flying which satisfies the utilitarian
grounds.

Field 3 The Unmanned Vehicle Systems Industry


3.1

The effects of GPS Technology on the Unmanned Vehicle Systems Industry

Unmanned vehicle systems, specifically unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) is a type of aircraft
with no passengers or on board crew (pilotless) on, and are capable of flight either through
the use of on-board computers or by remote control. It can be classified into two types,
namely remotely piloted vehicle (RPVs) and autonomous drones. In this article, we will
explore extensively on autonomous drones with the incorporation of the global positioning
system (GPS). Drones are commonly used by the military, however it is also implemented in
search and rescue operations and are also being utilised in other civil applications such as
policing and firefighting. In addition, the technology, albeit on a relatively smaller scale, also
allows hobbyists and other enthusiasts to become devoted drone operators.
The concept of unmanned aerial flight is not novel. One of the earliest records of the use of
an UAV for military purposes took place on 22nd August 1849. The Austrians, which had been
developing this systems for months, attacked the Italian city of Venice with some 200
unmanned balloons loaded with 33 pounds of explosives, set with a half-hour time fuse. The
picture on the left illustrates the explosive balloon. When the wind is favourable, the balloons
will be launched and directed to Venice as close as possible. The bomb falls perpendicularly,
and explodes upon reaching the ground (Centre des technologies de l'information de l'Etat
[CTIE], 2003). Even though the balloons are incomparable to current standards, the concept
was so strong that once the winged aircraft has been invented, the effort to fly them
unmanned for military purposes was not far behind. Fast forward forty years to 1898, during
the Spanish-American War, the Americans were found to be fitting a camera to a kite,
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producing the first ever aerial reconnaissance


photos (Ian & Shaw, 2014).
Most importantly, the first record of integrating
GPS navigation into a drone was found in 1989.
Whittle (2013) mentioned in his article that the

aforementioned drone is known as


Amber,

developed

by

Abraham

Karems company Leading Systems


Incorporated which was funded by
Defence Advanced Research Projects
Agency, the militarys research and development department. The set-up of GPS navigation
allowed Amber to perform autonomous missions up to 48 hours, and housed infrared and
low-light cameras in a moveable sensor turret under its nose. At a later stage, another drone,
known as Predator, was weaponised and equipped with Hellfire missiles which marked the
start of drone warfare. The picture on the left was the first drone to fire Hellfire missiles in
combat when it was deployed in Afghanistan to fight against terrorists (Bowden, 2013).

Furthermore, UAVs are becoming increasingly popular in the commercial and private market
recently. The largest online retailer, Amazon, stated in December 2013 that it was developing
their very own drone technology so that they can deliver mails autonomously one day.
Coincidentally, on the same year, Dominos, the pizza franchise, also demonstrated in a video
showing its unmanned DomiCopter, an autonomous drone delivering two pizzas in the
companys signature Heatwave bags (Cable News Network [CNN], 2013).
Drones are also being developed for hobbyists and other enthusiasts as well. In reality, this
aircraft type have been common since the 1930s, when Reginald Denny mass-produced the
first radio-controlled aircraft for the hobby market (CTIE, 2005). While RC airplanes
remained popular through the decades, recent technology is now making them smaller, more
powerful and more useful some adding cameras and GPS trackers, as well as making them
more affordable for everyday enthusiasts.
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3.2

Ethical Dilemma(s) raised by the Implementation of GPS into Unmanned

Vehicle Systems
Although drones with GPS presented several benefits, it created ethical dilemmas when it
was deployed as a weapon or as a privacy invader.
When drones are used to conduct attacks, it generates a different kind of ethical debate such
that the destructive nature is not the point of focus but rather its capability to conduct an
attack with virtually no danger to the attacking force which may leads to perpetual
asymmetric wars to a less technologically-inclined opponent. In addition, there is relatively
little domestic blowback against these wars due to the fact that there are a relatively low
number of troop casualties for a military that has turned to drones. This has inevitably created
a foundation whereby wars can be carried on indefinitely. Another problem is that is no one
exposed to any form of danger when drones are used, making an act of war too easy and far
too cheap. Wars should always be the last resort of diplomacy. Thus, the removal of human
element makes them by the very nature, unethical.
However, the use of drones satisfies act utilitarianism to a certain extent as there is nothing
intrinsically wrong with using such technology which will minimize deaths among friendly
forces, thus allowing unnecessary losses of lives. Yet rule utilitarianism cannot be satisfied
for the employment of drone attacks. Nevertheless the principle idea of utilising such
technology is to allow the elimination of friendly casualties and create a deterrent to military
action. This in fact, could lead to a new arms race and it may only be a matter of time before
the opponent develop their own drones. Using drones to attack also presents a psychological
distance between the operator and enemy, as well as the surrounding civilians. It may also
minimize the psychological impact of killing another human, rendering it less traumatising.
As the unmanned flight technology matures and grows ever cheaper, it will lead its way into
more private hands. However, there is also an increasing concern about privacy as well as the
violation of civil rights for using drones domestically. Some countries are using small drones
as a crime fighting tool for law enforcement officials. Unwarranted governmental intrusion

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through the use of these drone may too lead to the loss of individual privacy which is against
the rule utilitarianism a human beings basic right.

3.3

Possible Solution(s) to such Dilemmas

If drones are to be effective, they needed to be part of a clearly defined strategy where nonlethal measures are the priority, and drone strikes should be the last resort. Just because they
are easy to use and very effective at killing does not mean it should be used in lieu of other
options.
Therefore if potential risks are detected, alternatives should be carried out before resorting to
drone attacks. Example of alternatives could be stepping up intelligence gathering activities,
creating strategic partnerships with governments of other countries, freezing terrorists assets,
isolating terrorists to remote areas where their movement can be more easily tracked,
pursuing terrorists with local authorities to arrest them and gain valuable intelligence. In
addition, by limiting drone strikes to instances of imminent threat will lessen their frequency,
giving time for alternative mechanisms to work. Each unnecessary drone strike will
potentially undermine the effectiveness of nonviolent mechanisms as suggested above.
When using drones, it is imperative to ensure proper pilot training as it will be the most
empowering tool in dealing with these ethical issues. Teaching the drone operator to control
the aircraft is simply not enough. The drone pilots need a full and complete understanding of
the impact that their actions will have. They need to be constantly aware that they are not in
front of a video game. These pilots are indeed flying real aircraft with real missiles, capable
of killing real people. On top of that, the drone operators and commanders have to understand
that every person has natural rights, whether they are citizens of their country or any other.
How these rights apply to military operations needs to be further resolved in order to fully
comprehend the impact of targeted attacks en masse.
As for domestic drones, the government is encouraged to review regularly the existing laws
and regulations to ensure that citizens civil liberties are not violated. Enforce transparency in
the use of domestic drone and if necessary, add privacy protections to ensure the technology
cannot and will not be used to spy its citizen.

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3.4

Impact on Future Generations when New Conditions are introduced

One such possible new condition is the introduction of a full artificial intelligence (AI) to be
used in drones, especially if it can self-govern its weapons (Kibble, 2014). It may present
severe ethical impacts on future generation. Artificial Intelligence is a dual-use technology,
like nuclear fission, capable of great good or great harm. By automation, it increases the
system effectiveness and the reliability it offers. This also means that drones deployed in the
battlefield will be operated autonomously when it searches for the enemy and/or even engage
the target. However, who shoulders the moral culpability when the AI drone kills?

Field 4 The Agriculture Industry


4.1

The effects of GPS Technology on the Agriculture Industry

With the ever-growing worlds population constantly meeting complications due to famine,
plague and skirmishes between borders, it is vital for changes to take place in the agriculture
industry to meet the demands and at the same time to sustain the natural resources. The name
experts gave to this is Precision Farming. The rewards offered by precision farming are
tremendous. Farmers are now able to continue their duty of seeding, irrigating, spraying
pesticides and fertilisers, weeding and eventually reaping of the crops without any
disturbances arising from bad weather conditions. The key element that is being the driving
factor behind precision farming is the GPS technology. The intervention of GPS into the
agriculture industry traces back all the way into the past decade. As the benefits of GPS
became more established, researchers and scientists started looking out for sectors in which
would be expanded more efficiently with the use of noble technology, GPS. And one of such
sectors was the agriculture industry. Over the past 10 years, more and more farming
machineries such as tractors and harvesters have had their GPS receivers installed, coupled
with automation, and are able to be far more productive than the conventional farming.
Previously it was not easy for the farmers to see the relations between crop yields versus
production methods which varies with land. Due to this problem, farmers suffered from the
lack of ability to attain a best effective plain/soil management strategies which could have
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improved their production. However, today, due precision farming and agriculture,
application of herbicides, pesticide and fertilisers, and improved control of the chemical
dispersion is achieved. In which it helps the farmers to reduce unnecessary cost, increasing
crop yields and ultimately crafting a more environmentally friendly and sustainable farm.
The intrusion of precision agriculture altered the way on how farmers and agriculture
industry utilised the land to reap profits. Precision agriculture is all about getting the right
geospatial information on the soil condition, crop maturity and animal attention at the right
time. Using this data, timely application of site-specific treatments to improve and increase
the crop production and at the same time, protecting the environment can be achieved.
Where initially farmers used the same treatment for all of their crops, land and animals
(respectively) equally, precision agriculture now enables them to use micromanagement
technique to treat each individually. This was possible due to the high technology
machineries, sensors, on-board computers and ultimately, the GPS which feeds the vital root
data required for processing. GPS enables them to map their farmlands accurately. It shows
the details on part of the crops needs water, the part needs to be applied with fertilizers and
part of the crops are ready to harvest.
Moreover, latest technology on automation together with installation of GPS allows tractors
to plough the land all by itself. This means, the farm can be in operation continuously all day
and all night throughout the year, increasing efficiency and productivity like never before.

4.2

Ethical Dilemma(s) raised by the use of GPS the Agriculture Industry

Many times, the advantages brought about by the GPS in the agriculture industry is so great
that we often neglect the negative impacts caused by it. Some use utilitarian grounds to argue
that it is alright that whoever suffers are the minority. However, the benefits attained are one
set of farmers and negative impacts are totally on another set of farmers elsewhere.
Conventionally, the only industry where automation was not involved is the agriculture
industry. It was not possible to use the automation there due to the inconsistency in the
response needed by the soil, crops and animals. Farmers or workers (in the context of large
farm) are needed to be physically present to analyse the on the part of the crops that needed
fertilisers, soil that need weeding and animals that needs attention.

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With the intervention of GPS, automation was made much more possible into farmlands.
However, all these comes with a great price. In Saudi Arabia, large part of the land is being
leased by the U.S. companies to grow crops for commercial purposes. They employ low
skilled workers from Less Developed Countries (LDCs) to work in their farmland. With
sensors embedded with GPS module, manual workers are not needed anymore to the routine
physical check of the crops. With GPS navigation, tractors and harvesters are able to drive on
their own. The people who were previously employed to do all these jobs go jobless. And
since they are low skilled workers, it is extremely difficult for them switch industry where
they can find new jobs. When an agriculture company shows financial report that it saved
10% of its total cost in labour cost, it subtly indicates that there were 10% of their workers
become unemployed. Therefore, there is a rise in unemployment of low-skilled workers
where they are sent back to their home countries (Roubini, 2014).
GPS aided precision farming is relatively expensive. Only the big players of the agricultural
industry are able to utilise and reap off the benefits from this technology. This makes them
more productive than before. As such, smaller farmers in the LDCs are unable to stay
competitive and often being thrown out from this industry where their livelihood is
completely destroyed. This also leads to the major players monopolising the industry, where
they become the price setters of the agriproducts. This has direct impact on the consumers
who especially lives in urban areas as since they (agribusinesses) are able to set the price of
the agriproducts, they can set it at a high price since there is no competition in this industry.
There will be a high inflow of income from the consumers to the business owners causing
greater inequity in the society.
The power of farming data is insurmountable, and it is also dangerous (Gilpin, 2015). This
is the discussion for another ethical dilemma. Since the data collected from the GPS
embedded sensors are first being send to some server before being sent to the satellite and
then to the computer screens of the farmers, there is a very high chance that someone might
hack into the system and steal the data or worse, manipulate the data before the legitimate
owner can see it. Previously only the farm owners know the exact information about their
crop yields, soil conditions and the number of livestock they have, now with the presence of
GPS sensors, the overwhelming fear is that if it lies into the hands of evil, be it a neighbour,
fertilizer company, , or a big agro corporation. Whereas data might be used against the farmer
by being sold to a competitor or undercutting the price by a neighbour on land prices for a
better deal.
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4.3

Possible Solution(s) to such Dilemmas

Technological advancement will no doubt boost productivity and efficiency, however it is


also unavoidable fact that it may lead to the unemployment of low skill labour in the
economy. This may in turn lead to social disruption and human hardship. On the other hand,
such technology will also produce jobs in the area that required higher skill. To increase the
employment rate for low skilled labour, workers are encouraged to pick up multiple skills as
it is a way of insuring themselves again income loss, though not necessarily job loss. Thus
empowering workers with a range of skills would facilitate the process of these workers find
a job. In many countries such as the United States and Canada, training schemes are in fact
implemented for low skill labours to upgrade themselves or to learn new skills so that they
can improve their employability, having the opportunity to earn more and adapt to change.
Nevertheless, due to the high-cost nature of the technology, only the big players will be
benefit from this technology. Large farms do in fact provide jobs for many people and clearly
perform an important role in the economy. However, they are not the only part of the market
and the need for small farms should not be simply ignored by those in the government. One
way to protect the small farms is to implement a tax system for the larger farms and provide
incentive for the smaller farms.
In addition, this technology works in two ways. Although it provides numerous benefits to
farmers, it is also vulnerable to cyber threat. It is imperative that farmers who uses such
technology take proper cybersecurity measure to ensure their business data remains secure.
The farmers should alert the authorities and file a report with the local law enforcement in the
event of a security breach.

4.4

Impact on Future Generation when New Conditions are introduced

With the global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, agricultural production must
double if it is to meet the increasing demands for food and bioenergy. Given limited land,
water and labour resources, it is estimated that the efficiency of agricultural productivity must
increase by 25% to meet that goal, while limiting the growing pressure that agriculture puts
on the environment. Thus to meet 2050 agricultural production needs, robotics and
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automation play a significant role. Before long, farmers will employ more autonomous
systems that automate or augment farming operations such as pruning, thinning, and
harvesting, as well as mowing, spraying and weed removal. However, certain jobs in the farm
still require uniquely human characteristics such as empathy, creativity, judgment, or critical
thinkingand that jobs of this nature will never succumb to widespread automation.

Conclusion
The introduction of the Global Positioning System (GPS) has definitely brought upon several
positive changes for which it has completely changed the way for which the society has lived
their lives. Ease of navigation, the ability to track, and safety measurements are just some of
the many advantages introduced by the implementation of GPS into the various fields for
which we have discussed in this report.
Nevertheless, while having implemented the GPS in various fields did in fact result in a
multitude of advantages (of which most of them were beneficial to humanity), ethical
dilemmas were also raised in the process, for which these dilemmas include privacy issues
induced by such implementation, as well as the possible plotting of terrorist acts.
In addition, there goes a saying; With great power comes great responsibility, for which it
can be said the implementation of the GPS into the lives of civilians has resulted in an effect
so powerful, the GPS has now become responsible for how the society live their lives, but
such responsibility has not been sufficiently regulated by the authority to the point that ethical
dilemmas cease to exist.
In spite of that, a plethora of recommendations has been made and some of these suggestions
include the fact that the public is made aware of such ethical issues, and to consent to the
downsides before having to embrace such benefits. On top of that, a clear limit which defines
the extent of what the GPS is legally allowed to do will also facilitate the process of
eliminating such ethical issues.
In conclusion, it can be said that the GPS is a double edged sword which cuts both ways; for
which it has both pros and cons which needs to be deliberately contemplated. It can be a
valuable asset when it is used to maximise the general welfare of the society. Nevertheless,
many people utilize the GPS only to assuage their own selfish needs, and as long as such
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behaviour remains to be, ethical dilemmas concerning the implementation of the GPS will
continue to exist perpetually.

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