Social Implications of Computing

    CS (H)195, Fall 2013


(12/02) Due in Class on Paper

Write 2-3 paragraphs about ONE of the following two topics:

(a) Have you ever participated in an engineering project that created a product with social implications beyond its developers? If so, were you aware of the social issues at the time? Did you consider them in your design?

(b) What kind of work do you want to do after graduation? If you have a specific employer in mind, what is it? What are the social implications of the work you expect to do? Do you think you can realistically affect the social outcomes of your work?

(10/28) Due in Class on Paper

For next week, everyone should do this week's readings, as usual. In addition, for those students who took the essay option last week, you should have paper copies of two assignments from other students. You will be doing peer assessment on those assignments, and these will be returned to the other students in class. (We will just use a sign up sheet for roll.)

Your peer assessment should take into account the criteria named in last week's assignment:

1. Was the presentation clear and systematic? Regardless of whether or not you agree with the conclusion, did the author give a coherent argument in a clear and succinct manner?

2. Did the author avoid ethically irrelevant issues? Or was the author preoccupied with issues that are not ethically relevant or are of minor ethical relevance to the case?

3. Did the author's presentation clearly identify and thoroughly discuss the central moral dimensions of the case?

4. Did the author's presentation indicate both awareness and thoughtful consideration of different viewpoints, including especially those that would loom large in the reasoning of individuals who disagree with the author’s position?

Your assessment should be 1-2 paragraphs in length for each peer assessment. It's your choice whether you write directly on the other student's paper or attach a typed or hand-written sheet to it. Keep in mind that the other student will see your comments.

For those of you who did the video assignment: you get the week off, congratulations! All you need to do is do the readings and sign the roll sheet in class.

(10/21) Due in Class on Paper and Video

In this assignment your group will collaboratively create a videotaped debate about one of two issues we read about this week. If you don't want to participate in this, you can write a short essay instead (note: if you take this option you will have to turn in 3 paper copies). Details are in this pdf.

(10/14) Due in Class on Paper

Note: remember to type your name on your assignment and print it out before class.

boyd writes about how teens talk about their relationships using social media. For next week, write 2 paragraphs about either (a) or (b) below (your choice):

(a) One way to interpret boyd's essay is that she is saying "teens will be teens, and parents should just get over it." Do you agree that this is what her main message is? Why or why not? If yes, do you agree with her point? If no, what is her main point, and do you agree with it? Why or why not?

(b) boyd describes a rather painful social situation that played out online. The young woman did something to hurt the young man and expressed it online and he responded in kind. Many people are writing about the vituperative tone online, especially in social media and user-generated comments. Say you read something online that makes you feel like making a (i) mean-spirited, or (ii) a snarky comment, either using your real name or anonymously or pseudonymously. Write 2 paragraphs describing on what basis you make your decision whether or not to post the comment. Or if you've never thought about it before now, try to draft a personal code for how to decide, and write it down.

(10/7) Due in Class

    Do the readings and be prepared to discuss the ethics of contributing to autonomous weapons development. You do not need to turn in any writing this week; roll will be taken via a sign-up sheet.

(9/30) Due in Class on Paper