M 2:30 – 5:15 pm / Harbor Walk West 217
A seminar course to prepare majors for careers in CS by discussing and studying professional, ethical, legal, and social issues and responsibilities in computing. Local and global impact of computing on individuals, organizations, and society will also be addressed. Oral presentations and written work will be required.
CSCI 221 with a grade of C- or better, MATH 207.
Course syllabus (PDF).
- Test 1: TBA
- Bloom’s Taxonomy – or how deep is your knowledge? – memorize, understand, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate.
- The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (“the Code”) expresses the conscience of the profession. Computing professionals’ actions change the world. To act responsibly, we should reflect upon the wider impacts of our work, consistently supporting the greater good. The ACM Code of Ethics is designed to help guide the aspirations of all computing professionals in doing our work. It acknowledges that ethical decisions are not always easily arrived at, and exhorts us, as professionals, to develop not only our technical abilities but our skills in ethical analysis as well. Ultimately, we are here to do good. Let’s explore how…
- Also see The ACM Code of Ethics Booklet.
- ACM Ethics Case Studies – these fictional cases studies are designed for educational purposes to illustrate how to apply the Code to analyze complex situations. As prescribed by the Preamble of the Code, computing professionals should approach the dilemma with a holistic reading of the principles and evaluate the situation with thoughtful consideration to the circumstances. In all cases, the computing professional should defer to the public good as the paramount consideration.
- Case Study: Social Media Misinformation Campaigns – the new Cold War? – Social media giants created algorithms to maximize profits from advertisements, with disregard as to how their system may be used by foreign adversaries to influence elections and national unity and cohesion. By automatically infusing enough nonsense and fake news into the opponent’s information networks, you play havoc with their society, political systems, and sociocultural cohesion.
- (Fox News, Oct. 31, 2017) Russian trolls and bots disrupting US democracy via Facebook and Twitter – “What all these shocking and disparate stories have in common are two things: they are not true and they all originated from a group of Russian cyber trolls working out of a non-descript office building in St. Petersburg … Throughout last year’s presidential election season, dozens of stories circulated on Twitter, Facebook and other social media attacking Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton about everything from supposedly having poor mental health to allegedly fostering secret ties with Islamic extremists.”
- (Seattle Times, Oct. 31, 2017) The information war is real, and we’re losing it – “It started with the Boston marathon bombing, four years ago … There was a significant volume of social-media traffic that blamed the Navy SEALs for the bombing … Same thing after the mass shooting that killed nine at Umpqua Community College in Oregon: a burst of social-media activity calling the massacre a fake, a stage play by ‘crisis actors’ for political purposes … It was so fringe we kind of laughed at it. That was a terrible mistake. We should have been studying it. “
- (New York Times, Jan. 11, 2018) Facebook Overhauls News Feed to Focus on What Friends and Family Share – “Facebook has been under fire for months over what it shows people and whether its site has negatively influenced millions of its users. The company has been dogged by questions about how its algorithms may have prioritized misleading news and misinformation in News Feeds, influencing the 2016 American presidential election as well as political discourse in many countries. Last year, Facebook disclosed that Russian agents had used the social network to spread divisive and inflammatory posts and ads to polarize the American electorate.”