Computer Ethics: Reshaping Society Through Technology

For the 2020 Winter Quarter, Michael Nekrasov (CS, PhD) and I co-taught a five week course, titled Computer Ethics: Reshaping Society Through Technology, in collaboration with the School for Scientific Thought (SST).

Discussing the Digital Divide – What ethical issues arise when access to the internet disproportionately favors wealthy, urban areas in developed nations?

Computers make our lives easier, and, as a result, we include them in every aspect of our lives. We use them to communicate with our friends and families, to seek out entertainment, to find jobs, and for many other reasons. Because we involve computers in every aspect of our lives, we also share a great deal of information with the companies that build technology. What we share and how this highly tailored personal information is used is a topic of continuous concern and debate.

In this class we explore what these algorithms “know” about us and how they gather data. This class provides an overview of active areas of computer science including: Big Data, Machine Learning, Networking, Security, and Human Computer Interaction. Over 5 classes, we look at how technology and society interact. The class provides the skills for understanding how the technologies work as well as philosophical skills for critically engaging with these technologies.

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