Social Implications of Computing

CS 195, Spring 2019

Topics, Readings, and Assignments

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR FALL 2019 STUDENTS: While we get the Fall 2019 website up and working, please find updated content immediately below this message (but above the essay table).

If you haven't already, please enroll on Piazza.

Slides for lecture on 09/03 (Free Speech)

Readings for lecture on 09/10 (Privacy) are as for the equivalent lecture in spring (02/04 below), with the additional optional reading: Piovesan, Carole, "How Privacy Laws Are Changing To Protect Personal Information"


Essay Essay Assigned Essay Due Peer Reviews Due
1 Tuesday, Feb 12 Wednesday, Feb 20 Tuesday, Feb 26
2 Tuesday, Mar 5 Wednesday, Mar 13 Tuesday, Mar 19
3 Tuesday, Apr 9 Wednesday, Apr 17 Tuesday, Apr 23

Thanks for a great semester! Have a minute to help us improve CS 195 for next year? Fill out the exit survey to share your thoughts!

1/28 Wealth (Slides)

Optional: Barrera, Jeff, "In Search of Cheaper Housing, Silicon Valley Workers Face Long Commutes"

2/4 Privacy (Slides)

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

Menand, Louis, "Why Do We Care So Much About Privacy?"

Homayoun, Ana, "The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers"

Optional: Rachels, James, "Why Privacy is Important" (VPN required)

Optional: Powazek, Derek, "I'm Not The Product, But I Play One on the Internet"

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

Stallman, Richard, "Misinterpreting Copyright—A Series of Errors"

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

Optional: Stallman, Richard, "The Danger of Software Patents" (video)

Optional: Heckel, Paul, "Debunking the Software Patent Myths"

Essay 1: Instructions and submission information can be found here.

2/18 No Class

2/25 Jobs (Slides)

Please complete this survey by 2 PM before lecture!

CGP Grey, "Humans Need Not Apply"

Williams, Alex, "Will Robots Take Our Children's Jobs?"

Surowiecki, James, "The Great Tech Panic: Robots Won't Take All Our Jobs"

Optional: Dalai Lama, The, "Dalai Lama: Behind Our Anxiety, the Fear of Being Unneeded"

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

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

3/4 Free Speech (Slides)

Please complete this survey by 2 PM before lecture!

Ellis, Emma Grey, "Win or Lose, the Alex Jones Lawsuit Will Help Redefine Free Speech"

Malcolm, Jeremy and Cohn, Cindy and O'Brien, Danny, "Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression"

Fisher, Max, "Inside Facebook's Secret Rulebook for Global Political Speech"

Optional: Stone, Geoffrey R. and Volokh, Eugene, "Interactive Constitution: The meaning of free speech"

Optional: Jeong, Sarah, "The History of Twitter's Rules"

Essay 2: Instructions and submission information can be found here.

3/11 News & Politics (Slides)

Please complete this survey by 2 PM before lecture!

Tufekci, Zeynep, "Russian Meddling Is a Symptom, Not the Disease"

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

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

Optional: Garrett, Resnick, "Resisting Political Fragmentation on the Internet"

Optional: Smiley, Lauren, "The College Kids Doing What Twitter Won't"

3/18 Governments (Slides)

Please complete this survey by 2 PM before lecture!

Manaugh, Geoff, "Drone Cops Take Flight in Los Angeles"

Kosoff, Maya, "China's terrifying surveillance state looks a lot like America's future"

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

Optional: Gallagher, Ryan, "Senior Google Scientist Resigns Over 'Forfeiture of Our Values' in China"

Optional: Kayyali, Dia, "FBI's 'Suicide Letter' to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Dangers of Unchecked Surveillance"

3/25 No Class

4/1 Software Risks and Algorithmic Bias (Slides)

Please complete this survey by 2 PM before lecture!

Hao, Karen, "Should a self-driving car kill the baby or the grandma? Depends on where you're from." (Optional: take the test, visualize the results, or read the journal publication)

Software Risks:

Algorithmic Bias:

4/8 Professional Ethics (Slides)

Please complete this survey by 2 PM before lecture!

This coming week, we'll do something a little different and discuss systems of ethics as taxonomized by the field of moral philosophers. We'll go over two of the three major schools of ethics in class (consequentialism and virtue ethics), but watch these videos in advance so that the overview is easier to follow.

ACM, "Professional Code of Conduct"

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

4/15 Finance (Slides)

Please complete this survey by 2 PM before lecture!

Faggella, Daniel, "Machine Learning in Finance - Present and Future Applications"

Hern, Alex, "Energy cost of 'mining' bitcoin more than twice that of copper or gold"

Kelly-Pitou, Katrina, "Stop worrying about how much energy bitcoin uses"

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

4/22 Corporations (Slides)

Please complete this survey by 2 PM before lecture!

Readings this week are all optional but encouraged.

Optional: Reiss, Robert, "Top CEOs Place High Value on Corporate Ethics and Social Responsibility to Drive Business"

Optional: Google AI, "Responsible AI Practices"

Optional: West, Darrell M., "The role of corporations in addressing AI's ethical dilemmas" (touches on many issues discussed in this course—most relevant part for this week is the last section, "Recommendations for Going Forward")

4/29 War (Slides)

Please complete this survey by 2 PM before lecture!

Greenberg, Andy, "The Untold Story of NotPetya, the Most Devastating Cyberattack in History"

Wakabayashi, Shane, "Google Will Not Renew Pentagon Contract That Upset Employees"

Haselton, Todd, "How the Army plans to use Microsoft's high-tech HoloLens goggles on the battlefield"

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

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