Social Implications of Computer Technology

CS 195, Fall 2021


Assignments

Essay Essay Proposal Due Essay Due Peer Reviews Due Links
1 Sunday 09/26 Wednesday 09/29 Wednesday 10/06 Proposal Form
Submission Link
2 Sunday 10/31 Wednesday 11/03 Wednesday 11/10 Proposal Form
Submission Link

Essays

You will write two short essays (500-1000 words) of varying format in relation to issues discussed in class. Essays are peer reviewed, which means you will review six essays and have each of your essays reviewed by three of your peers.

Essay 1

Proposal due: Sunday, September 26th (soft deadline). Proposal Form.
Essay Due: Wednesday, September 29th (hard deadline). Submission Link.
Peer reviews due: Wednesday, October 6th (hard deadline). Submission Link.

Assignment Description

Choose your own essay related to one of the lecture topics from the first five weeks (Free Speech, Privacy, Government Censorship and Surveillance, Jobs, Education). You may also discuss multiple topics. Here are the three focus areas you may choose:

  • Debates. Discuss a controversial and/or unresolved issue related to your chosen topic. This could be a current or historical debate, where you choose a side (please explain why you chose this side), and discuss the merits and demerits of both sides of the argument equally so that readers have a clear view of both sides.
  • Impact of Computing. Choose a field of study, hobby, or profession and describe how computing is affecting it, with an emphasis on your choice of lecture topic. You could choose, for example, the responsibility of rank-and-file engineers to protect user privacy from government surveillance.
  • Emerging Technology. Discuss an emerging technology. What are its social implications on your chosen topic?

For example, suppose I were very interested in Government Censorship and Surveillance, specifically how Facebook is trying to adjust its business model to avoid losing business in censorship heavy countries. I might use this article, and submit a topic proposal for "How do Social Media companies gain market share in censored markets?"

Due to constraints with the platform we use for peer grading, we cannot offer any extensions to anyone for any reason. If you forget or have a technical glitch we will have a makeup essay later at the very end of the semester. Essays should be short: In the range of 500-1000 words. The goal is for you to explore a topic that you find interesting! Your essays will ultimately be graded (on a 0, 1, or 2 scale) by your peers.

Submission

Please upload your essay by going to the following link on CrowdGrader. You will need to create an account using your Berkeley email address and upload your essay in .txt or .pdf format.

Grading

You will be evaluated on the following criteria by about three of your peers on a scale of 0 to 2:

2: The essay discusses the assigned topic, makes at least one coherent argument, and provides evidence or examples as support.
1: The essay discusses the assigned topic and attempts an argument, but it should be rewritten.
0: The essay is not coherent at all, blank, or irrelevant to the assignment.

Essay 2

Proposal due: Sunday, October 31st at 11:59 PM (soft deadline). Proposal Form.
Essay Due: Wednesday, November 3rd at 11:59 PM (hard deadline). Submission Link.
Peer reviews due: Wednesday, November 10th at 11:59 PM (hard deadline). Submission Link.

Assignment Description

Choose your own essay related to one of the topics covered in Lectures 6 to 9 (Copyright & Patents, Memes, Politics and Media, Software Risks and Algorithmic Bias). You may also discuss multiple topics. Here are the three focus areas you may choose:

  • Debates. Discuss a controversial and/or unresolved issue related to your chosen topic. This could be a current or historical debate, where you choose a side (please explain why you chose this side), and discuss the merits and demerits of both sides of the argument equally so that readers have a clear view of both sides.
  • Impact of Computing. Choose a field of study, hobby, or profession and describe how computing is affecting it, with an emphasis on your choice of lecture topic. You could choose, for example, the responsibility of rank-and-file engineers to protect user privacy from government surveillance.
  • Emerging Technology. Discuss an emerging technology. What are its social implications on your chosen topic?

Note that these focus areas are the same as in Essay 1 assignment. Please include the sources that you cite in your essay (any citation style is fine).

Due to constraints with the platform we use for peer grading, we cannot offer any extensions to anyone for any reason. If you forget or have a technical glitch we will have a makeup essay later at the very end of the semester. Essays should be short: In the range of 500-1000 words. The goal is for you to explore a topic that you find interesting! Your essays will ultimately be graded (on a 0, 1, or 2 scale) by your peers.

Submission

Please upload your essay by going to the following link on CrowdGrader. You will need to create an account using your Berkeley email address and upload your essay in .txt or .pdf format.

Grading

You will be evaluated on the following criteria by about three of your peers on a scale of 0 to 2:

2: The essay discusses the assigned topic, makes at least one coherent argument, and provides evidence or examples as support.
1: The essay discusses the assigned topic and attempts an argument, but it should be rewritten.
0: The essay is not coherent at all, blank, or irrelevant to the assignment.

Ethics in the News

You will complete an Ethics in the News assignment. Details to be released.

Accommodations

If you have a DSP-approved accommodation and/or extenuating circumstances that prevent you from submitting an assignment on time, please create a private post on the Ed forum describing your accommodation or the extenuating circumstances, as well as the number of additional days that you require to complete the assignment.

We will review each request for an extension on an individual basis.