Social Implications of Computing

CS 195, Fall 2017

Topics, Readings, and Assignments

Essay Proposal Due Proposal Approvals Essay Due Peer Reviews Due
1 Thursday, 9/21 Saturday, 9/23 Sunday, 10/1 Sunday, 10/8
2 Thursday, 10/19 Saturday, 10/21 Sunday, 10/29 Sunday, 11/5
3 Wednesday, 11/22 Friday, 11/24 Friday, 12/1 Wednesday, 12/6

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).

The Distant Future

Kind, Amy, "Qualia", up to the end of section 1 (The Hard Problem of Consciousness)

Watch either of these (they are similar):

Brooks, Rodney, "The Seven Deadly Sins of Predicting the Future of AI"

Optional: Brooks, Rodney, "What is it like to be a robot?"
Optional: Harris, Mark, "Inside the first church of artificial intelligence"

11/17 Millennials and Free Time

Please complete the Millennials and Free Time before Thursday at 5 PM.

Twenge, "Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?"

Brooks, Dalai Lama, "Behind Our Anxiety, the Fear of Being Unneeded"

Becker, Rachel, "Why calling screen time 'digital heroin' is digital garbage"

Optional: Alter, "Do the Poor Have More Meaningful Lives?"

Optional: Lil B, "The Age of Information"

11/3 Software Risks and Algorithmic Bias

Please complete the Software Risks Survey before Thursday at 5 PM.

Software Risks:

Algorithmic Bias:

10/27 Politics and Media

Please complete the Politics and Media survey before Thursday at 5 PM.

Tufekci, "Zuckerberg's Preposterous Defense of Facebook"

Kolbert, "Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds"

Bertoni, "How Jared Kushner Won Trump The White House"

Garrett, Resnick, "Resisting Political Fragmentation on the Internet" (optional)

10/20 Memes

Please complete the Memes survey before Thursday at 5 PM.

CGP Grey, "This Video Will Make You Angry"

Heath, Bell, Sternberg, "Emotional selection in memes: the case of urban legends" (required VPN or being on campus)

Shullenberger, "Mimesis, Violence, and Facebook: Peter Thiel's French Connection" (very weird read, but interesting)

Alexander, "The Toxoplasma of Rage" (optional, somewhat redundant with CGP Grey video above, but some students really liked it last year)

10/13 War

Please complete the War survey before Thursday at 5 PM.

Bershidskey, Leonid "Scariest Thing About Cyberwarfare: No Rules of Engagement"

Walzer, Michael "Just & Unjust Targeted Killing & Drone Warfare" (requires being on campus or Berkeley VPN)

Optional: Valentino, Benjamin "Moral Character or Character of War? American Public Opinion on the Targeting of Civilians in Times of War" (requires being on campus or Berkeley VPN)

Optional: Dunlap Jr., Charles "The Military-Industrial Complex" (requires being on campus or Berkeley VPN)

10/6 Jobs and Automation

Please complete the Jobs and Automation survey before Thursday at 5 PM.

CGP Grey, "Humans Need Not Apply"

Bernstein, Raman "The Great Decoupling: An Interview with Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee"

Optional but recommended: "Our Automated Future"

Optional: McKinsey Global Institute, "Harnessing automation for a future that works" and the "Appendix"

Please complete the Copyright Survey survey before Thursday at 5 PM.

Cardenas, "Patent vs. Copyright Protection for Computer Software" (very short, read first)

Stallman, "Misinterpreting Copyright"

Mullin, ""Your criticisms are completely wrong": Stallman on software patents, 20 years in"

Optional: Stallman, "The Dangers of Software Patents" (or watch Video)

Optional: Heckel, "Debunking the Software Patent Myths" (pro-patent piece)

9/22 Professional Ethics and Moral Philosophy

Please complete the Professional Ethics and Moral Philosophy survey before Thursday at 5 PM.

This coming week, we'll do something a little different and discuss systems of ethics as taxonomized by the field of moral philosophers. I'll go over the three major schools of ethics in class, but you might find it helpful to watch these videos in advance so my overview is easier to follow.

ACM, "Professional Code of Conduct"

Systems of Ethics (Videos) (optional but recommended!):

Systems of Ethics (Game) (optional):

9/15 Government Censorship and Surveillance

Please complete the Censorship and Surveillance Survey before Thursday at 5 PM.

Times Editorial Board, "No more secret surveillance technology in local law enforcement"

Rainie, Maniam "Americans feel the tensions between privacy and security concerns"

Kayyali, "FBI's "Suicide Letter" to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Dangers of Unchecked Surveillance" and Gage, "What an Uncensored Letter to M.L.K. Reveals"

Grabmeier, "Why many Russians have gladly agreed to online censorship"

Gladwell, "The Outside Man" (Optional)

Foucault, "Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison" (Ultra optional, recommended by Lukas)

9/8 Finance (Guest Lecture)

I can't make it 9/8, so we'll have a guest lecturer talking about finance and then we'll pick up where we left off on Government Censorship and Surveillance.

Please complete the Finance Survey before Thursday at 5 PM.

Hug, "A Stock Market Primer (draft)"

Uzzi, "How AI Machines Could Save Wall Street Brokers' Jobs"

Economist, "Machine learning promises to shake up large swathes of finance" (optional)

Maney, "Goldman Sacked: How artificial intelligence will transform wall street" (optional)

9/1 Privacy

Please complete the Privacy Survey before Thursday at 5 PM.

Homayoun, "The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers"

Moody, "Can an employee be fired for activities outside the workplace?"

Popken, "Sites Spying on You in Weird New Ways, Princeton Study Exposes"

Powazek, "I'm Not The Product, But I Play One On The Internet"

Various Authors, "Various stories about people getting fired for social media posts" (optional)

Rachels, "Why Privacy Is Important" (optional, but interesting)

8/25 Free Speech

Optional: Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression

Optional: The History of Twitter's Rules