Ethics: Are we misusing the terms "master-slave". Do we even have a community / forum in which we can discuss this?

The recent world wide considerations of the diversity challenges in our society has highlighted that we in Engineering can be perpetuating some of the derogatory terms implicit within our use of "Master-Slave" for purely inanimate technical control scenarios. [1 - N]


We have policies on slavery that every volunteer, staff member and Trustee must read and abide to, but it appears we haven't noticed, to any significant extent, our own continued use of "slave" in our writings.


Do we even have a community or forum in which we can discuss this ethical, and publishing issue?


Philip Oakley

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53273923

[2] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3243656.stm

[3] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-53050955

[4 ] http://www.jstor.com/stable/40061475   "Broken Metaphor: The Master-Slave Analogy in Technical Literature"

[5] https://www.theiet.org/involved/volunteering-for-the-iet/volunteer-hub/our-policies/anti-slavery-policy/


Aside: Is there some tick box to get notifications of replies sent?
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  • davidwalker2:


    As for master/slave, I agree with OMS, if people want to see offence they will, I do not find it offensive.

    The problem that occurred in the past was the misuse of such terms (and commonly other terms) in a context to positively imply a racial intent. By changing away from incorrectly used words, such as "slave" being an inanimate object, we switch from providing a vicious circle of phrasing, to a more virtuous ethic.
Reply
  • davidwalker2:


    As for master/slave, I agree with OMS, if people want to see offence they will, I do not find it offensive.

    The problem that occurred in the past was the misuse of such terms (and commonly other terms) in a context to positively imply a racial intent. By changing away from incorrectly used words, such as "slave" being an inanimate object, we switch from providing a vicious circle of phrasing, to a more virtuous ethic.
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