This is the course website for “Everyday Ethics and Quotidian Quandries for Computer Scientists”, a new University of Virginia course on ethics targeted to undergraduate computer science students that will be offered for the first time in Spring 2021. Scheduled course meetings are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30am – 10:45am, starting on 2 February 2021.
Below, you can read a preliminary description of the course and about the reason for offering it. A syllabus and more information about the course will be posted soon. The course size will be very limited for Spring 2021, and more information will be posted about selecting students for the course soon, but feel free to contact me now if you have questions or are interested in joining.
Most decisions today are made by software, most of the rules of society are interpreted and enforced by programs, and much human interaction is now mediated by computing platforms that decide what people see and who they can talk to. As the people who decide what software gets written and how it is deployed, computer scientists have disproportionate power to mold society. The goal of this course is raise awareness and increase understanding of the moral and ethical aspects of computing systems. We will do that through a mix of readings and viewings, exercises and experiments, and writings, presentations, and discussions.