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.

  1. A Brief Note to the Student (Phillip Rogaway, 2015)
  2. Dekalog I (1989) (Krzysztof Kieslowski) (film, 51.5 mins)
  3. Basic attitudes towards technology (Phillip Rogaway). Given at beginning+end of each term.

    Reshaped by Technology
  4. The Machine Stops (audio) (E. M. Forster, 1909)
  5. Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline (scan) (Morris Berman, 2011)
  6. Marshal McLuhan Interview (1969) (helpful vocabulary)
  7. Views of Technology (scan) (Ian Barbour, 1993).
  8. Do Artifacts have Politics? (Langdon Winner, 1984)
  9. Do Politics have Artefacts? (Bernward Joerges, 1999)
  10. Do Machines Make History? (Robert L Heilbroner, 1967)
  11. Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change (Neil Postman, 1998)

    Particularly Smartphones
  12. Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? (Julian Twenge, 2017)
  13. Your Addiction to Social Media is No Accident (Julian Morgans, 2017)
  14. How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind (Tristan Harris, 2016)
  15. ‘Irresistible’ By Design (Fresh Air, 2017) (audio, 30 mins)
  16. The Value of Deep Work (Shankar Vedantam, 2017) (audio, 37 mins)
  17. Empowering Design (Joe Edelman) (2015) (video, 19 mins)
  18. Center for Humane Technology (website, Tristan Harris)

    Capitalism and Tech
  19. The Corporation (2003) (Mark Archbar, Jennifer Abbott, Joel Bakan) (film, 145 mins)
  20. The Lexus and the Olive Tree (scan) (Thomas Friedman, 1999)
  21. The Lexus and the Olive Tree Revisited (Ha-Joon Chang, 2008)
  22. An Economic Hit Man Confesses and Calls to Action (John Perkins, 2016) (video, 19 mins)
  23. A Road Map for Natural Capitalism (original) (Lovins, Lovins, Hawken, 1999)
  24. The Human Use of Human Beings (last pages) (Norbert Wiener, 1950)
  25. Chap-1, Chap-4, Chap-6, and Chap-7 from Making Globalization Work (Joseph Stiglitz, 2007)
  26. Bhopal Lives (Suketu Mehta, 1996). CNN photos

  27. War (original URL) (Brian Orend, 2005)
  28. Why We Fight (2005) (Eugene Jarecki) (film, 98 mins)
  29. Farewell Address to the Nation (Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961)

    The End of Mankind
  30. Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us (Bill Joy, 2000)
  31. Promise and Peril (Ray Kurzweil, 2001)
  32. The Altered Nature of Human Action (scan) (Hans Jonas, 1985) (helpful vocabulary)
  33. Existential Risk Prevention as Global Priority (Nick Bostrom, 2013)
  34. Testament (1983) (Lynne Littman) (film, 90 mins)
  35. Threads (1984) (Mick Jackson) (film, 112 mins)
  36. Arkhipov Day: Celebrate the Man Who Saved the World (Milan Rai, 2014)

    Philosophical Ethics
  37. Philosophical Ethics (scan) (Deborah Johnson, 2001)
  38. The Question Concerning Technology (Martin Heidegger, 1954/1977) (explanations)
  39. Technological Subversion (David Strong, 1995)

    Environmental Ethics
  40. The Land Ethic (Aldo Leopold, 1949)
  41. Oldest Living Tree Tells All (M. Cohen, 2004)
  42. The Tragedy of the Commons ( Garrett Hardin, 1968)
  43. The World as a Polder (Jared Diamond, 2005)
  44. This was a Crime (Mart Hersgaard, 2010)
  45. Time to Choose (2015) (Charles Ferguson) (film, 97 mins)
  46. Green Illusions (Ozzie Zehner, 2012)

    Personal Responsibility and Behavior
  47. Rachel Carson (2017) (film, 113 mins) (PBS Series: American Experience)
  48. An open letter (Norbert Wiener, 1947)
  49. Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior (Piff, Stancato, Cote, Mendoza-Denton, Keltner) (2012)
  50. Disciplined Minds (Jeff Schmidt, 2001)
  51. How We See Ourselves and How We See Others (Emily Pronin, 2008)
  52. Can Psychology be Taught? (Daniel Kahneman, 2011)
  53. Computers, Ethics, and Collective Violence (scan) (Craig Summers, Eric Markusen, 1992)
  54. The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis (Joe Morgenstern, 1995)
  55. Google Employees Resign in Protest Against Pentagon Contract (Kate Conger, 2018)
  56. pledge; including the resources on the bottom, particularly the one by Sarah Kendzior
  57. Russell-Einstein Manifesto (1955)
  58. Bethe to Clinton (1985)
  59. Fatal Dose: Radiation Deaths linked to AECL Computer Errors (html) (Barbara Wade Rose, 1994)
  60. Pinto Fires and Personal Ethics (Dennis Gioia, 1992)
  61. Dirty Money S1:E1: Hard NOx (Volkswagen scandal) (2018) (Alex Bigney) (film, 75 mins)

  62. Earthlings (2005) (Shaun Monson) (film, 95 mins)
  63. Vegucated (2011) (Marisa Miller Wolfson) (film, 76 mins)
  64. Food, Inc. (2008) (Robert Kenner) (film, 94 mins)
  65. Moving Beyond Fast Food Nation (video), with Peter Singer and Eric Schlosser. From a conference on "Food, Ethics & the Environment", Princeton University, November 2006.
  66. interview with Michael Pollan by Marc Eisen from The Progressive, November 2008.

    Happiness, Depression, and Tech
  67. Technology and Happiness (James Surowiecki, 2005).
  68. Happiness: has social science a clue? (Richard Layard, 2003)

    Surveillance, Big Data, and Machine Learning
  69. The Snowden revelations. Articles: Verizon (2013.06.2013), PRISM (2013.07.07), The NSA Revelations All in One Chart (2014.06.30), How spy agencies defeat security mechanisms (2013.09.06),
    Videos: Poitras 1, Poitras 2, TED2014 talk by Snowden
  70. 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.
  71. The Lives of Others (2006) (film, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 137 mins) (Amazon streaming)
  72. The Fate of Internet (John Naughton, 2013)
  73. Taking back the Internet (Bruce Schneier, 2013)
  74. The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work (Phil Rogaway, 2015)
  75. Information Consumerism (Evgeny Morozov, 2013)
  76. Big other: surveillance capitalism and the prospects of an information civilization (Shoshana Zuboff, 2015)
  77. Automated Inference on Criminality using Face Images by Xiaolin Wu and Xi Zhang (2016)
  78. Law and Disorder: Why too much due process is a dangerous thing (Jonathan Rauch, 2001)
  79. The Paranoid State (Sarah Kendzior, 2013)
  80. The Transparent Society (David Brin, 1996)
  81. Against Transparency (Lawrence Lessig, 2013)

    Intellectual Property
  82. The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind (author’s website) (James Boyle, 2008)
  83. The GNU Manifesto (original URL) (Richard Stallman, 1985)
  84. Microsoft Research DRM Talk by (Cory Doctorow, 2004)

    Our Profession
  85. ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (1992)
  86. IEEE Code of Ethics (2006)
  87. Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practices (1999)
  88. Scenarios (drawn from Sara Baase, 2004)
  89. Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women and Computing (scan3, scan6) by Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher. The reading (14 pages) is an except from Chapters 3 and 6 of Margolis and Fisher’s book published by MIT Press, 2002. Reconsider selection/redaction.
  90. Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber (James Damore, 2017)

    Concluding Remarks
  91. Some pledges
  92. Video clip from The Ascent of Man (Jacob Bronowski, 1973)

This reader is a living document. If you have suggestions for additions, deletions, or changes, please let me know.

Copyright Information 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 May 2018