Course Reader – ECS 188 – Ethics in an Age of Technology
This ever-evolving course reader
has been assembled by Prof. Phillip Rogaway
for use in UC Davis course ECS 188, Ethics in an Age of Technology.
Much of the material is password protected;
see the copyright notice at the bottom of the page.
A Brief Note to the Student by Phillip Rogaway.
Views of Technology
by Ian Barbour.
From Chapter 1 of
Ethics in an Age of Technology (The Gifford Lectures, 1989–1991,
Volume 2), HarperCollins, 1993.
- Why America Failed — The Illusion of Power
(scan) by Morris Berman. Chapter 3 from
Why America Failed.
John Wiley, 2011.
Do Machines Make History? (scan) by
Robert L Heilbroner.
Technology and Culture, vol. 8, pp. 335–345, July 1967.
Do Artifacts have Politics? by
The Whale and the Reactor, The University of Chicago Press, 1984.
Earlier version from Daedalus, Vol. 109, No. 1, Winter 1980.
Do Politics have Artefacts? by
From Social Studies of Science, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 411-431, 1999.
Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change by
Speech given in Denver, Colorado, USA. March 27, 1998.
Industrial Society and Technological Systems
Ruth Schwartz Cowan.
A Social History of American Technology, pp. 149–172, 1997.
The Machine Stops by
E. M. Forester (1909) (fiction), and related links (including an audio
recording) by Ray Kurzweil
- An open letter by Norbert Wiener (1947) and the
final passage of The Human Use of Human Beings, by Norbert Wiener (1950).
- Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us by
Appeared in Wired, issue 8.04, April 2000.
- Promise and Peril by
Appeared in Interactive Week, April 23, 2000.
- The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster (1909).
The Lexus and the Olive Tree
A selection (13 pages) from
Friedman’s book of the same title, including
portions of Chapters 1, 3, and 12. Anchor Books, Random House, 1999.
- The Lexus and the Olive Tree Revisited (not yet OCR’d) by
Chapter 1 from
Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism.
Bloomsbury Press, 2008.
- A Road Map for Natural Capitalism
Amory B. Lovins,
L. Hunter Lovins, and
Harvard Business Review, May-June, 1999.
- Readings from
Globalization Work by Joseph Stiglitz:
ch1 (Another World is Possible),
ch4 (Patents, Profits, and People),
ch6 (Saving the Planet),
ch7 (The Multinational Company).
- A Framework for Thinking
Ethically by Manuel Velasquez et al., Santa Clara University. May 2009.
- Philosophical Ethics
Chapter 2 from
Computer Ethics, Prentice Hall, 2001.
Current edition (2009).
- The Altered Nature of Human Action
by Hans Jonas. Chapter 1 from
The Imperative of Responsibility. University of Chicago Press, 1985.
Some helpful vocabulary for this reading.
- The Question Concerning Technology (scan) by
Martin Heidegger (1954/1977).
For help, see Prof. John Zuern’s web pages on this essay.
- Technological Subversion by
Crazy Mountains: Learning from Wilderness to
Weigh Technology. State University of New York Press, 1995.
Not yet OCR’d.
- The Land Ethic by Aldo Leopold.
From A Sand County Almanac, 1949.
- Oldest Living Tree Tells All by M. Cohen
Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments.
No. 14, Winter/Spring 2004.
- The Tragedy of the Commons
Science, vol. 168, pp. 1243–1248, December 13, 1968.
- The World as a Polder: What Does It All Mean
to Us Today? by Jared Diamond.
Chapter 16 from
Collapse: How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed, Viking Penguin, 2005. Not yet OCR’d
- This was a Crime (scan) by
Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty
Years on Earth.
(Replacing: We Haven’t Done a Damned Thing by Eric Pooley.
The Climate Wars: True Believers, Power Brokers, and the Fight to Save the Earth.
- Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior by
Paul Piff, Daniel Stancato, Stephane Cote, Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, and Dacher Keltner. PNAS, 2012.
How We See Ourselves and How We See Others by Emily Pronin. Science, vol 320, May 30, 2008.
- Technology and Happiness by James Surowiecki.
From Technology Review, 2005.
For a broader discussion, see:
Happiness: has social
science a clue? By Richard Layard. Transcript of three lectures presented at the London School of Economics, March 3-5, 2003.
Can Psychology be Taught? by
Thinking, Fast and Slow, Chapter 16, pp. 170-174.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
Computers, Ethics, and Collective Violence
(scan) by Craig Summers and
Journal of Systems and Software, vol. 17, pp. 91–103, 1992.
- Marshal McLuhan Interview.
From Playboy, 1969. Some helpful vocabulary for this reading.
(original URL) by
In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
First published Feb 4, 2000; last revised July 28, 2005.
Farewell Address to the Nation
by Dwight D. Eisenhower
January 17, 1961. A very short reading to pair with the film “Why We Fight”
Moving Beyond Fast Food Nation (video),
with Peter Singer and
From a conference
on "Food, Ethics & the Environment", Princeton University,
Also: an interview with Michael Pollan by Marc Eisen
from The Progressive, November 2008.
The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind
by James Boyle.
Yale University Press, 2008.
Thanks to the author for making his entire book available on-line, under a CC license.
The GNU Manifesto
The Darknet and the Future of Content Distribution.
By Peter Biddle,
Paul England, Marcus Peinado, and Bryan Willman.
Proc. of the 2002 ACM Workshop on Digital Rights Management.
Microsoft Research DRM Talk by
Cory Doctorow, 2004.
Surveillance, Big Data, and Machine Learning
- The Snowden revelations. Articles:
The NSA Revelations All in One Chart (2014.06.30),
How spy agencies defeat security mechanisms (2013.09.06),
TED2014 talk by Snowden
- U.S. government’s view of the above:
Administration response on telephone metadata collection (2013.08.09),
PCLOB Report on PRISM/Upstream surveillance,
TED2014 talk by Richard Ledgett.
- The Fate of Internet by John Naughton (2013.07.28) and
Taking back the Internet by Bruce Schneier (2013.09.05)
- The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work by Phil Rogaway (2015)
- Information Consumerism
by Evgeny Morozov (FAZ, 2013.07.24);
- Big other: surveillance capitalism and the
prospects of an information civilization by Shoshana Zuboff (2015)
- Automated Inference on Criminality using Face Images by Xiaolin Wu and Xi Zhang (2016)
The Transparent Society by
David Brin. From Wired Magazine, Issue 4.12, December 1996.
See the author’s book (1998) for a fuller treatment.
- Against Transparency by Lawrence Lessig. New Republic, March 27, 2013.
Bhopal Lives by
Appeared in The Village Voice on Dec 3, 1996 and on Dec 10, 1996.
by Nancy G. Leveson.
Appears on the author’s website and as Appendix A of
Safeware: System Safety and Computers,
Addison-Wesley Professional, 1995.
For a shorter version:
Therac-25 Case Materials, from ComputingCases.org.
- The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis
by Joe Morgenstern. The New Yorker, May 29, 1995, pp. 45–53.
- Codes of ethics:
ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, 1992
IEEE Code of Ethics, 2006
Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practices, 1999.
Accompanying materials: some
scenarios collected up from Sara Baase’s book.
Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women and Computing
Jane Margolis and
The reading (14 pages) is an except from Chapters 3 and 6 of
Margolis and Fisher’s
book published by MIT Press, 2002.
- Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber by
James Damore (2017) (got its author fired)
by Jeff Schmidt.
The reading (17 pages) is a selection drawn from chapters 1, 2, 3, and 13 of Schmidt’s book,
Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and
the Soul-Battering System That Shapes Their Lives,
Rowman & Littlefield, 2001.
(Do not omit.)
- neveragain.tech pledge;
including the resources on the bottom,
particularly the one by
- Russell-Einstein Manifesto (1955),
Bethe to Clinton (1985)
Video clip from
Jacob Bronowski’s TV mini-series
The Ascent of Man (1973).
We will also see some or all of the following films:
- Dekalog (Part 1), 1989.
Time is 51.5 mins (beginning to start of credits).
Following some introductory remarks,
I usually show this film in the first or second class meeting.
An Inconvenient Truth (2006). Presented by
directed by Davis Guggenheim.
Custom CD omits first 34 seconds of chapter 1, and omits 10, 12, 13, and 15.
Time is 79 mins to start of credits, and
84 mins including enjoyable credits.
Why We Fight, 2005. Written and directed by
Custom CD omits chapters 2 and 5. Time is
79.5 mins (start to beginning of credits) .
- The Corporation, 2003.
Written by Joel Bakan,
directed by Mark Archbar and Jennifer Abbott.
Custom CD includes chapters 1–5, 8:[beg–47:29], 8:[51:33–end],
10:[beg–1:02:34], 16[1:24:56–1:26:45], 18, 19:[beg–1:50:27],
Time is 79.5 mins (beginning to start of credits).
Food, Inc., 2008. By
Robert Kenner. Total time is 94 mins.
- The Lives of Others, 2006.
By Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. 137 mins.
This reader is a living document.
If you have suggestions for additions, deletions, or changes, please
let me know.
The materials assembled here
are exclusively for educational purposes in one particular class at UCD.
Some of the readings are believed to be in
the public domain, or have unrestrictive use permissions (eg, they are CC-licensed).
Other materials fall under traditional copyright,
and are included with due consideration to the four factors used in ascertaining
fair use; these have placed in a password-protected subdirectory.
Some readings have been OCR’d from scans, to
reduce file size and improve legibility.
Last updated Jan 2014