Digital Life: Ethical Perspectives
Cornell Tech - INFO 7050
Helen Nissenbaum, Information Science: Cornell Tech
About the course:
This Ph.D. Seminar examines ethical challenges that arise in a digitized world, particularly those associated with distinctive qualities of digital technologies, data and information science, and connected, smart devices, such as privacy, intellectual property, freedom of speech and association, personalized persuasion (e.g. voter and consumer targeting), content filtering, and automation of human thought and action. It will emphasize those challenges that emerge in the in the context of research. The purpose of the seminar is not to declare a particular action, policy, or methodology right or wrong. Learning goals, instead, including sharpening the ability to notice and identify ethical challenges, honing the ability to engage in ethical argumentation, and rigorously generating well considered evaluations and prescriptions for actions and prohibitions. The Seminar will begin by examining a selection of recent controversial cases, with a particular focus on those relating to research (and research methods) in computer, information, and data science. In the final sessions, it will focus on issues students choose to bring forward for examination, either those emerging from their own active research projects or from the work of others.
Attendance at all seven 2-hour sessions. Completion of assigned readings. Active participation in classroom discussions (including turns presenting cases.) Short write-up of a case (5-pages). Students will be encouraged to polish their work for conference presentation or publication in formal or informal outlets.