Social Implications of Computing

CS 195, Fall 2015

Topics, Assignments, and Readings

Lecture screencasts will be posted ...

Attendance form is here

For many of the linked readings you need to have your UC Berkeley library proxy server enabled on your web browser, or install the Berkeley VPN on your computer (better privacy).

8/26 Free Speech

9/2 Privacy

Please complete the Privacy Survey before class.

Rachels, "Why Privacy Is Important"

Boyd, "Facebook's Privacy Trainwreck"

Miller, "Addicted to Apps"

Please complete the Copyright Survey before class.

Stallman, "Misinterpreting Copyright"

Stallman, "The Dangers of Software Patents" (Video)

Heckel, "Debunking the Software Patent Myths"

9/16 No Class

9/23 War

Please complete the War Survey before class.

Please complete Essay 1 by Monday 10/5 @ 11:59pm.

Choose a discussion and commentary topic ASAP. Due to the data center fire, the Google doc for signups is currently unavailable.

  • Monday, 4-5 PM discussions will be in Cory 299
  • Monday, 5-6 PM discussions will be in Soda 606

Drones (three short readings):

Automated Weapons Ban (three short readings):

Consequentialism (two short readings):

9/30 Finance

- Complete essay 1 by Monday 10/5

Please complete the Finance Survey before class.

Hug, "A Stock Market Primer (draft)"

Philips, "How the Robots Lost: High-Frequency Trading's Rise and Fall"

Paul Stearns (Blinn College), Kant's Morality part 1, Kant's Morality part 2

For even more, see Optional Enyclopedia Entry on Kant's Morality. This is not required.

10/7 Jobs

Complete essay 1 by Monday 10/5

Please complete the Jobs Survey before class.

CGP Grey, "Humans Need Not Apply"

Brynjolfsson and McAfee, "Jobs, Productivity and the Great Decoupling"

Pew Center, "AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs (page one)"

Derek Thompson, "A World Without Work (optional)". If you just want the key ideas, I'd recommend reading starting from "To paraphrase the science-fiction novelist William Gibson," and then reading sections 3, 4, 5 and 6.

10/14 Government Censorship and Surveillance

Please complete the Government Censorship and Surveillance Survey before class.*

Foreign Governments (three short readings):

United States Government (four short readings):

Optional extra readings/watching:

10/21 Politics and Media

Complete essay 2 essay 2 by Thursday 10/29

Please complete the Politics and Media Survey before class.

Elections (video):

Political Polarization (two short pieces):

Political Action (two short readings, one long one):

Optional Political Polarization Reading:

Optional Political Action Readings:

Note: For lack of time, we will not discuss the social implications of computing on the process of governance, e.g. "How Sandy Changed Social Media Strategies in New York City".

10/28 Software

Complete essay 2 by Thursday 10/29

Please complete the Software Survey before class.

Levenson and Turner, "An Investigation of the Therac-25 Accidents" (commentaries)

Dartington, Virtue Ethics

Virtue Ethics in More Detail (optional)

Anscombe, Modern Moral Philosophy (The Paper That Brought Back Virtue Ethics) (optional)

11/4 Professional Ethics

Please complete the Professional Ethics Survey before class.

ACM, "Professional Code of Conduct"

Anderson, "Using the new ACM Code of Ethics in Decision Making" (commentaries)

Kaptein, Schwarz "The Effectiveness of Business Codes: A Critical Examination of Existing Studies and the Development of an Integrated Research Model, pg. 111-117 (esp. 111-114)"

(Optional) MacIntyre, Chapter 14 of After Virtue, "The Nature of the Virtues" (see first search result)

11/18 Poverty

Please complete the Poverty Survey before class.

Gates, "Mobile Banking Will Help the Poor Transform Their Lives"

Rotman, "Technology and Inequality"

Singer, "The Singer Solution to World Poverty"

Packer, "Change The World (optional)"

12/2 Ask Us Anything

Complete essay 3 peer reviews by Thursday 12/4

Khatchadourian, "The Doomsday Invention"