You can use last term’s schedule as an example of what to expect.
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Q1, Q2, Q3, ... are quizzes, while #A, #B, #C, ... are written assignments.

ECS 188 – Fall 2017 – Ethics in an Age of Technology – Prof. Phillip Rogaway
Class How we spent class What is due today Additional resources
01 W 09/27 Week 1. Reliance on technology, being changed by technology, the technological way of life. Introduction and course mechanics. Questionnaire on views of technology. We watched Dekalog I (Kieslowski, 1988). Amazingly, nothing is due the first day of class. See Friday’s slot for what is due on Friday, etc. Other wonderful films by Kieslowski: The Double Life of Veronique (1991), Blue (1993), Red (1994).
02 F 09/29 Quiz 1. We discussed Dekalog 1 and then the Forster short story. (a) Read the course information sheet and A Brief Note to the Student. (b) Read The Machine Stops (1909) by E. M. Forster. (#A) Write an essay responsive to this prompt. Upload it to Canvas before class. Former Google engineer is developing an AI god (Guardian, 9/28/17).
03 M 10/02 Week 2. Quiz 2 (not graded). We discussed the Berman reading. Read and (#B) prepare quotes (as typed hardcopy) for Why America Failed by M. Berman (2011). Panels from a children’s book by Jorg Muller.
04 W 10/04 Melissa visits our class. We discussed the McLuhan reading. Sections 2 and 3 watched a video featuring Terence McKenna. Read and (#C) prepare quotes (as typed hardcopy) for Marshal McLuhan Interview (1994). Some helpful vocabulary for the McLuhan interview.
05 F 10/06 Quiz 3. We discussed the smartphones and mechanisms for creating addictions to technology. Read: (a) Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? (pdf) by J. Twenge (2017); (b) Your Addiction to Social Media is No Accident by J. Morgans (2017); (c) How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind by T. Harris (2016); and listen to the Fresh Air audio (d) ‘Irresistible’ by Design (2017). Explore and watch Joe Edelman’s talk on Empowering Design. Hidden Brain podcast: The value of deep work. ‘Our minds can be hijacked by Paul Lewis (Oct 6, 2017).
06 M 10/09 Week 3. Quiz 4. We discussed the Barbour reading. Read Views of Technology by Ian Barbour (1993). Ian Barbour’s obituary (1923-2013).
07 W 10/11 Some ideas from moral philosophy.Quiz 5. We discussed ethical relativism and utilitarianism. Read Philosophical Ethics by Deborah Johnson (1993). A Framework for Ethical Decision Making (Santa Clara University, 2015).
08 F 10/13 Quiz 6. We discussed deontology (I. Kant), virtue ethics, and then the land ethic (A. Leopold). (a) Read The Land Ethic (1949) by Aldo Leopold. (b) Read Oldest Living Tree Tells All by Michael Cohen (1998). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Environmental Ethics. Wikipedia: [Kant’s] Categorical Imperative[s].
09 M 10/16 Week 4. We discussed the Leopold reading, the tree Donald Currey cut down, and the Hans Jonas reading. (#D) Project milestone 1 due. Read and (#E) Prepare a Summary of The Imperative of Responsibility, Ch. 1: The Altered Nature of Human Action by Hans Jonas (1984). Vocabulary list for the Jonas reading.
10 W 10/18 Corporations, globalization, and tech. Quiz 7. We watched the first part of The Corporation by Bakan, Achbar, and Abbott (2003). Opposite takes: (a) Read a selection from The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman (1999), then (b) watch a video (just the portion with John Perkins) (alternative) and read a selection from The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by Perkins (2016). Another video of Perkins.
11 F 10/20 Quiz 8. We discussed The Corporation. Watch the rest of The Corporation (whatever you didn’t see in class). Then (#F) provide an Analysis of any one particular person from that film (someone you liked or hated), or any one particular claim from either of Wednesday’s reading. Express a strong opinion of your own. Upload to Canvas before class. Interface Corp. and Ray Anderson’s obituary. (1934-2011)
12 M 10/23 Week 5. End of mankind. Quiz 9. Discussion of the Joy and Kurzweil readings. Brief discussion of Friedman reading (sections 2, 3). (a) Read Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us (2000) by Bill Joy. (b) Read a response to this, Promise and Peril (2001) by Ray Kurzweil. Existential Risk Prevention as Global Priority by Nick Bostrom (2012).
13 W 10/25 We watched Time to Choose (Charles Ferguson, 2016) Spend 1-2 hours reading any recent material of your choosing on climate change. Come prepared to write and talk about what new you learned. Tomorrow, Thur, 2pm, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel will show at the law school: details and RSVP. Al Gore by webcast 3:45 pm.
14 F 10/27 Quiz 10 (ungraded). We discussed climate change. (a) Watch a presentation by Ozzie Zehner (2012). (b) Read Thank you Vasili Arkhipov by Edward Wilson (2012). (c) Make sure you bring to class any personal notes/materials you prepared for Wednesday. Another article on Arkhipov, and another. Some other films on climate change: Chasing Coral (2017), This Changes Everything (2016), The Age of Consequences (2016), Chasing Ice (2012), Gasland (2010), Who Killed the Electric Car (2006), Forget Shorter Showers (2015) (11 mins).
15 M 10/30 Week 6. Professional ethics. Quiz 11. Discussed the Therac-25 reading and the ACM Code of Ethics. (a) Read Fatal Dose: Radiation Deaths linked to AECL Computer Errors (html) by Barbara Wade Rose (1994). (b) Read The ACM Code of Ethics (1992). Sample scenarios from Sara Baase (2002).
16 W 11/01 We discussed Volkswagen and the Morgenstern reading. Then we broke up into small groups to look at the sample scenarios from Baase. (a) Read What was Volkswagen Thinking? by Justin Renteria (2016). (b) Spend half an hour more to read something you find online about the Volkswagen emissions scandal. (c) Some people do behave reasonably: read The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis by Joe Morgenstern (1995). Wikipedia: Volkswagen emissions scandal.
Pinto Fires and Personal Ethics by Dennis Gioia (1992).
Wikipedia: Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development.
17 F 11/03 Quiz 12. We discussed Schmidt’s reading. Read a selection from Disciplined Minds by Jeff Schmidt (2000). The Student as Nigger by Jerry Faber (1969). Note: Faber uses a deeply offensive word, in his title and throughout, to emphasize the master-slave relationship that he sees at the heart of our educational system. I hope you find this extra reading interesting and not offensive. Faber’s ideas on education intersect substantially with Schmidt’s.
18 M 11/06 Week 7. Ethical traps. Quiz 13. We watched the Greed is Good speech from Wall Street (1987). We discussed reading (b). (a) Read How we see ourselves and how we see others by Emily Pronin (2008). (b) Read Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior by Paul Piff et. al (2012) (don’t worry about the stats). Piff’s homepage (and pubs).
19 W 11/08 After a brief chat on the readings, we watched Why We Fight (2005) (Amazon streaming). (a) Read Computers, Ethics, and Collective Violence by Summers and Markusen (1992).
(b) Read War by Brian Orend (2005).
Eisenhower’s farewell address (1961).
xx F 11/10 Veterans Day holiday. No class. Veterans Day holiday. No class. Veterans Day holiday. No class.
20 M 11/13 Week 8. Bias, big data, and surveillance. Quiz 14.
We discussed women in tech. Shaheen joined, and Sam King for section 2.
(a) Read Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women? by Lizy Mundy (2017). (b) Read Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber by James Damore (2017). (c) spend an hour or so to research reaction to (b) and to form your own opinion on it. Listen to The Edge of Gender by Shankar Vedantam (2017).
21 W 11/15 We further discussed bias (particular race and gender). In sections 2 and 3, we watched roughly the second half of Code: Debugging the Gender Gap (Robin Hauser, 2015). (#M) Milestone 2 due. Upload pdf in Canvas. (a) Listen to Be the Change / Can a Child be Raised Free of Gender Stereotypes? by Shankar Vedantam (2017) (51 mins). (b) Listen to In the Air We Breathe by Shankar Vedantam (2017) (38 mins). (c) Take at least two implicit bias tests at Project Implicit. Remember your results. X: A Fabulous Child’s Story by Lois Gould.
Films I like on racism: 13th (2016) (on prisons), and White Dog (1982) (deeply disturbing) (Wikipedia entry).
22 F 11/17 Quiz 15. We discussed the three videos and, in Section 2, the Crawford reading as well. (a) Watch Haunted by Data by Maciej Ceglowski (2015) (20 mins). (b) Watch The era of blind faith in big data must end by Cathy O’Neil (2017) (13 mins). (c) Watch Slaughterbots by Stuart Russell (2017) (8 mins) (fiction—barely). (d) Read The Anxieties of Big Data by Kate Crawford (2014). Machine Bias: There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks by Angwin, Larson, Mattu, and Kirchner (ProPublica) (2016). Minority Neighborhoods Pay Higher Car Insurance Premiums Than White Areas With the Same Risk by Angwin, Larson, Kirchner and Mattu (ProPublica) (2017).
23 M 11/20 Week 9. Quiz 16. Section 2: we discussed the Big Other reading. Sections 1, 3: Guest visit from Prof. Martin Hilbert to discuss “big data”. (a) Read Want to Predict the Future of Surveillance? Ask Poor Communities by Virginia Eubanks (2014). (b) Read Big Other by Shoshana Zuboff (2015) [Warning: difficult reading]. Eubanks co-founded organization Popular Technology.
24 W 11/22 Food. In sections 2 and 3 we watched Vegucated (Marisa Miller Wolfson, 2010, 76 mins). In section 1 we watched Earthlings (Shaun Monson, 2005, 93 mins). (#G) Investigate and writeup an ethical biography of some food item. (#H) Complete your peer review of the Milestone-2 that Canvas gave you to read. Other materials: Gary Yourofsky video (2014, 49 mins), (widely seen earlier talk) (2010, 70 mins), Melanie Joy video (2015, 18 mins), Food, Inc. (2008, 93 mins), Cowspiracy (2014, 90 mins).
xx F 11/24 Thanksgiving holiday. No class. Read Consider the turkey on Thanksgiving. Specifically, consider not eating it by Peter Singer (2016). 12 Reasons You May Never Want to Eat Turkey Again by Ashley Capps (2013).
25 M 11/27 Week 10. Back to surveillance and tech. Plus crypto, politics, and authority. Quiz 17. Discussion of reaction/non-reaction to food films. Discussion of Discipline and Punish. A talk on giving talks. (#I) Submit a short essay (alternatively, a drawing, poem, piece of music, etc.) that captures your reaction to Wednesday’s film. No requirements on topic, length, or form. (b) Read an excerpt from Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault (1977). [Warning: challenging reading] If you can’t understanding Foucault (or even if you can), you might try: summary-1 (pp. 18-23), summary-2.
26 W 11/29 We talked about what people read for #J, and we watched Snowden-1 and Snowden-2 videos (Poitras, 2013) (20 mins total). (#J) Conduct your own investigation on the connection between surveillance and politics/authoritarianism. Ted talk by Edward Snowden (2014), and a response by Richard Ledgett (NSA) (2014).
27 F 12/01 Dog Day!! But there were only dogs in Section 3. Two of them. Students asked Rogaway questions about the day’s reading. (a) Read The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work (endnotes instead of footnotes) by Phillip Rogaway (2015), and (#K)  prepare questions about the reading, bringing them as hardcopy to class. (b) optional, but highly recommended: bring a dog to class. Any size, and breed. Would class work better if I brought a dog each day?
28 M 12/04 Week 11. Happiness, depression, and tech. Discussed that topic. Section 2 started with a student presentation; sections 1 and 3 started with listened to Mad World (Gary Jules, 2001). (a) Read at least lecture 1 from Happiness: Has Social Science a Clue? by Richard Layard (2003). If you find time, read it all.
(b) (#L) Showing kindness.
(c) Section 2 only: Read paper p200 and (#M) provide typeset comments (2–6 sentences) on the paper (if not your own), as feedback to the group. Put only your number (not name) on the paper. Do this on the upper-right corner of the page. I will cut this off before giving your comments to the group.
Another reading I wanted to give for today: Nothing to be Done by Joe Edelman (2017). Note-1, Note-2, Note-3 found on campus, near the Craft Center.
29 W 12/06 Student presentations. Section 1: Read papers 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106.
Section 2: Read papers 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206.
Section 3: Read papers 302, 303, 304, 305, 306.
(#N) provide typeset comments (2–6 sentences) on each paper not your own. These will be given as feedback to the group. Use a separate sheet of paper for each group. (Alternatively, you can write on a printout of the team’s paper.) Clearly indicate the group number on it. For the numerically first group number you do, identify yourself. Do this by clearly writing your own number (1-26), by hand, on the upper-right corner of the page. I will cut this off before giving your comments to the group.
30 F 12/08 More student presentations. Section 1: Read papers 107, 108, 109.
Section 2: Read papers 207, 208, 209.
Section 3: Read papers 307, 308, 309.
(#O) provide typeset comments on each paper not your own. Same instruction as with #N.
xx M 12/11 Sect 2 final: 8:00-10:00
Exam, presentations, and closing remarks
Read papers 210, 211, 212.
(#P) provide typeset comments on each paper not your own. Same instructions as with #N.
xx W 12/13 Sect 1 final: 8:00-10:00
Exam, presentations, and closing remarks
Read papers 110, 111, 112.
(#P) provide typeset comments each paper not your own. Same instructions as with #N.
xx F 12/15 Sect 3 final: 10:30-12:30
Exam, presentations, and closing remarks
Read papers 301, 310, 311.
(#P) provide typeset comments on each paper not your own. Same instructions as with #N.