CS 293

Social and Ethical Issues in Computing

Spring 2015

Wednesdays 1:00–1:50 — CENT 1030   § 001

Prof. Patrick Gage Kelley

pgk @ unm.edu

Schedule / all the important details

  1. Wednesday 14 January Discussion: Introduction and class goals.
  2. Wednesday 21 January Discussion: Net Neutrality.
    Read for class: Read for class: Read for class: Read for class: Read for class: Don't read this: Essay due:
  3. Wednesday 28 January Discussion: The new ethics of technology.
    Read for class: Maner– Is Computer Ethics Unique?
    Read for class: Johnson– Computer Ethics
    Essay due:
  4. Wednesday 4 February Discussion: Self driving cars.
    Read for class: Read for class: Read for class: Essay due:
  5. Wednesday 11 February Discussion: The ACM Code of Ethics.
    Read for class: ACM Code of Ethics
    Consider: Ordine Gemoetria Demonstrata
    Consider: Essay due:
  6. Wednesday 18 February Discussion: Project proposals
    Ideas due: Project proposal ideas:
    Submit three ideas. Each idea should be no more than three sentences. The project must be somehow related to a social/ethical issue that is a result of computing or technology broadly. You should submit three very different ideas, all of which you are interested in, so that we can find a good, new, compelling direction for your project. This project could be a book review, an original essay, an experimental study, an explanatory brochure, or something completely different.

  7. Wednesday 25 February In class: Guest Speaker!
  8. Wednesday 4 March Discussion: Privacy.
    Read for class: Common Data Project
    Optional: Optional: Essay due:
  9. Wednesday 11 March Spring Break
  10. Wednesday 18 March Discussion: Drones.

    Choose a couple of the following readings. (At least two).

    View for class: Read for class: Read for class: Read for class: Read for class: Read for class: Read for class: Read for class: Essay due:
  11. Wednesday 25 March Project Proposals due

    Your goal here is to convince me that (1) your project is interesting (2) you are actually interested in it (3) you are going to say something/do something that hasn't been said/done before and (4) there are enough resources/information out there that this can actually happen

    • your name
    • your email address
    • and a potential project name (you can change this later)
    • a one paragraph description of the project (this is the one you are really going to want to do / commit to)
    • at least five (5) links to starter ideas, arguments, facts, thoughts, essays (you don't need to have read these entirely, but they should be reasonable...)
    • and a short description of what you will turn in (paper, website, comparison table, app, poster, etc.)
  12. Wednesday 1 April The Singularity (is near?)

    You do *not* need to write an essay about this, but you can if you want. I do want you to do these readings and think about this.

    The Coming Singularity
    The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence
    The AI Revolution: Our Immortality or Extinction
    Bill Gates Fears AI, but AI Researchers Know Better
    The Myth of AI (optional due to length, but this matters.)
    Of Daisies and the Robot Apocalypse
  13. Wednesday 8 April Project Presentations I
    Taylor - Product Design with Computer
    Casey - Google’s Chokehold on eCommerce
    Valuable - The Apocalyptic AI and its Effects on Society
    Brendan - The Victimless Crime: Consequences of Digital Stealing
  14. Wednesday 15 April Project Presentations II
    James - The impact of the lightbulb on working conditions
    Chris - The Age of the Computing Professional
    Haydn - Fabricating a Better Future
    Mark - Bitcoin: A Viable Currency Alternative
    Zachary - A new Frontier in Telemedicine
  15. Wednesday 22 April Project Presentations III
    Neil - Decrypting the Details (Who/What/Where Hacking?)
    Robert - Hacking the wide screen: Hacking in Hollywood
    Tess - The Ethical Implications of the Stuxnet Virus
    Laurence - TOR
    Katrina - The need for increased email protection
  16. Wednesday 29 April Project Presentations IV
    Gabriel - How to turn the tables on social media
    Galen - How ISIS uses Twitter to recruit followers
    Ronniet - How the Internet Harms Children
    Caleb - Domestic Surveillance Concerns
  17. Final Deadlines:
    Optional first-draft reading: must be emailed to pgk @ unm.edu or turned in hard copy in class or to Farris 301B by 11pm Friday May 1.
    These will be read and able to be picked up as of Monday May 4.

    Final *hard* deadline Thursday May 7th at noon.
    Papers received after this point will not be graded and grades from the first-draft will be used if one was turned in.

    Résumé's may be turned in for extra credit (optional turn-in) and are due by Thursday May 7th at noon as well
    If you want résumé feedback please note that in the email/turned in physical copy, this will be done via email.

    PGK End of Semester Office hours:
    Thursday April 30: 11am - 2pm (at Satellite Coffee on Central across from campus)
    Friday May 1: noon - 2pm (in Farris 301B)
    Monday May 4: 11am - 1pm (in Farris 301B)
    Monday May 4: 1pm - 5pm (at Satellite as above)

Syllabus Details

What is this?

Society is consistently challenged by new advances, inventions, and the repercussions of technology.

This class explores these issues, from the philosophical foundations of ethics to the minutia of technology policy. Throughout the course we will cover privacy, databases, intellectual property, computer crime, safety and reliability, professional responsibility and codes, the Internet, electronic communities, smartphones, the cloud, and the social and legal impacts of these and other technologies.


Nearly every week you will have to turn in a short (ideally 1 page) written essay. These should be turned in, printed out, each Wednesday in class.


You are expect to attend class, to have completed the assigned readings, and to participate in class discussion. If you must miss a class, please send an email in advance. All assignments should be done individually.