Course Reader – ECS 188 – Ethics in an Age of Technology – Fall 2011

This ever-evolving course reader has been assembled by Prof. Phillip Rogaway for exclusive use in UC Davis’ course ECS 188 — Ethics in an Age of Technology. The materials may be used only for this class. Many of the materials are password protected. Please see the copyright notice at the bottom of the page. Note: the contents and numbering differ from the hardcopy version of this reader.
A merged pdf file (8.5 GB, 337 pages) contains many of the readings below.
  1. A Brief Note to the Student by Phil Rogaway. September 2011.
    Sociological Perspectives
  2. Views of Technology (scan) by Ian Barbour. From Chapter 1 of Ethics in an Age of Technology (The Gifford Lectures, 1989–1991, Volume 2), HarperCollins, 1993. Password protected.
  3. Do Machines Make History? (scan) by Robert L Heilbroner. Technology and Culture, vol. 8, pp. 335–345, July 1967. Password protected.
  4. Do Artifacts have Politics? by Langdon Winner. From The Whale and the Reactor, The University of Chicago Press, 1984. Earlier version from Daedalus, Vol. 109, No. 1, Winter 1980.
  5. Do Politics have Artefacts? by Bernward Joerges. From Social Studies of Science, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 411-431, 1999.
  6. Five Things we Need to Know About Technological Change by Neil Postman. Speech given in Denver, Colorado, USA. March 27, 1998.
  7. Technology and Happiness by James Surowiecki. From Technology Review, 2005. Password protected.
    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.
  8. Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior by Paul Piff, Daniel Stancato, Stephane Cote, Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, and Dacher Keltner. PNAS, 2012.
  9. McLuhan Interview with Marshal McLuhan. From Playboy, 1969. Some helpful vocabulary for this reading.
    Engineering Perspectives
  10. Technology and Social Justice by Freeman Dyson. The fourth Louis Nizer Lecture on Public Policy, November 5, 1997.
  11. Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us by Bill Joy. Appeared in Wired, issue 8.04, April 2000.
  12. Promise and Peril by Ray Kurzweil. Appeared in Interactive Week, April 23, 2000.
    Philosophical Perspectives
  13. Philosophical Ethics (scan) by Deborah Johnson. Chapter 2 from Computer Ethics, Prentice Hall, 2001. Current edition (2009). Password protected.
  14. The Altered Nature of Human Action (scan) by Hans Jonas. Chapter 1 from The Imperative of Responsibility. University of Chicago Press, 1985. Password protected. Some helpful vocabulary for this reading.
  15. The Question Concerning Technology (scan) by Martin Heidegger (1954/1977).
    For help, see Prof. John Zuern’s web pages on this essay.
  16. Technological Subversion by David Strong. From Crazy Mountains: Learning from Wilderness to Weigh Technology. State University of New York Press, 1995. Password protected. Not yet OCR’d.
    Historical Perspectives
  17. Industrial Society and Technological Systems (scan) by Ruth Schwartz Cowan. From A Social History of American Technology, pp. 149–172, 1997. Password protected.
    Economic Perspectives
  18. The Lexus and the Olive Tree (scan) by Thomas Friedman. 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. Password protected.
  19. The Lexus and the Olive Tree Revisited (not yet OCR’d) by Ha-Joon Chang. Chapter 1 from Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism. Bloomsbury Press, 2008. Password protected.
  20. A Road Map for Natural Capitalism (original) by Amory B. Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins, and Paul Hawken, Harvard Business Review, May-June, 1999. Password protected.
  21. Moving Beyond Fast Food Nation (video), with Peter Singer and Eric Schlosser. From a conference on "Food, Ethics & the Environment", Princeton University, November 2006. Also: an interview with Michael Pollan by Marc Eisen from The Progressive, November 2008.
    The Environment
  22. The Tragedy of the Commons (scan) (text) by Garrett Hardin. Science, vol. 168, pp. 1243–1248, December 13, 1968. Password protected.
  23. 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
  24. This was a Crime (scan) by Mart Hersgaard. Chapter 10 Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth. (Replacing: We Haven’t Done a Damned Thing by Eric Pooley. Chapter 1 from The Climate Wars: True Believers, Power Brokers, and the Fight to Save the Earth. Hyperion, 2010.)
  25. A Brief History of Offshore Oil Drilling. Staff Working Paper No. 1 of the commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. Undated manuscript, retrieved 18 Sep 2010.
  26. Oldest Living Tree Tells All by M. Cohen. A Journal of the Build & Natural Environments. No. 14, Winter/Spring 2004.
  27. War (original URL) by Brian Orend. In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. First published Feb 4, 2000; last revised July 28, 2005.
  28. Computers, Ethics, and Collective Violence (scan) by Craig Summers and Eric Markusen. Journal of Systems and Software, vol. 17, pp. 91–103, 1992. Password protected.
  29. Farewell Address to the Nation by Dwight D. Eisenhower January 17, 1961. A very short reading to pair with the film “Why We Fight”
    Intellectual Property
  30. The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind (author’s website) (Chapter 0) (Chapter 1) (Chapter 2) (Chapter 3) (Chapter 4) (Chapter 5) (Chapter 6) (Chapter 7) (Chapter 8) (Chapter 9) (Chapter 10) by James Boyle. Yale University Press, 2008. Also available in print. Thanks to the author for making his entire book available on-line, under a CC license. We may distributively read it.
  31. The GNU Manifesto (original URL) by Richard Stallman. 1985.
  32. 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.
  33. Microsoft Research DRM Talk by Cory Doctorow, 2004.
  34. The Transparent Society by David Brin. From Wired Magazine, Issue 4.12, December 1996. See the author’s book (1998) for a fuller treatment.
  35. Beyond Google and evil: How policy makers, journalists and consumers should talk differently about Google and privacy by Chris Jay Hoofnagle. First Monday, 14(4), 6 April 2009.
  36. Bhopal Lives by Suketu Mehta. Appeared in The Village Voice on Dec 3, 1996 and on Dec 10, 1996. Password protected. CNN photos
  37. The Therac-25 Accidents 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
  38. The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis (OCR-produced html) by Joe Morgenstern. The New Yorker, May 29, 1995, pp. 45–53. Password protected.
    Our Profession
  39. Codes of ethics:
    (a) ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, 1992
    (b) IEEE Code of Ethics, 2006
    (c) Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practices, 1997.
    Accompanying materials: some scenarios collected up from Sara Baase’s book.
  40. 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. Password protected. Reconsider selection/redaction.
  41. The Future of Our Profession by Bo Dahlbom and Lars Mathiassen. CACM, 40(2), June 1997. Password protected.
  42. Disciplined Minds (scan) 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. Password protected. Do not omit.
    Concluding Remarks
  43. Some pledges
  44. Russell-Einstein Manifesto (1955), Bethe to Clinton (1985), Bethe to the Science Community (1995)
  45. 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:
  1. Dekalog (Part 1), 1989. Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. Time is 51.5 mins (beginning to start of credits). Following some introductory remarks, I always show this film in the first class meeting.
  2. An Inconvenient Truth (2006). Presented by Al Gore, 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.
  3. Why We Fight, 2005. Written and directed by Eugene Jarecki. Custom CD omits chapters 2 and 5. Time is 79.5 mins (start to beginning of credits) .
  4. 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], 22:[2:02:40–2:17:23], 23–24. Time is 79.5 mins (beginning to start of credits).
  5. Food, Inc., 2008. By Robert Kenner. Total time is 94 mins.
This reader is a living document. If you have suggestions for additions, deletions, or changes, please let me know.

Important Copyright Information The materials assembled here are exclusively for educational purposes in one particular class at UCD. Some of the readings are in the public domain or have very unrestrictive use permissions, but others fall under conventional copyright. They are included in this reader with careful consideration to the four factors used in ascertaining fair use. They have been placed in a password-protected subdirectory. I have marked those entries Password protected. Many of these are OCR’d from scans. The scans themselves (which I also include in the password-protected subdirectory) are large and sometimes not too legible, which is why most have been OCR’d.

Last updated Sep 22, 2010