CS 492/692 - Spring 2020 - Week 8 Readings Summary

Here are some notes to remind you of the Readings of the Week, on Ethics and to provide some details on the Ethics Workshop.

Persuasive technology: concern when software and systems you create may persuade users to take actions - golden rule: do not seek to persuade what you would not want to be persuaded to do, yourself - ethics as rational system for determining right and wrong - responsibility on creators and not on the artefact - programmers are not just "workers for hire" - reasonably predictable outcomes should be addressed by the designer

ACM ethics: Schneiderman returns to urge us to a) prevent future terrorism b) strengthen communities (shared understandings, online connections, trust) c) broaden participation (diverse users (e.g young and old), open systems) d) reduce inequities (lower-cost, developing nations) - ACM as an organization which can support initiatives

Professional responsibility: encyclopaedia of computer science (2008) - we have clients and professional responsibilities - we have specialized knowledge - some accredition options and policies for members (ACM) - we have obligations to employers as well - moral responsibility: "should do in the future" - responsibilities for users - conflicts of interest arise: should you be a whistleblower? - obligation to mentor junior professionals - responsibilities to the public - ACM code: do no harm, be honest, be fair, give credit, upgrade skills (were you planning to do this?)

Ryerson case: This will be the first case that we discuss as part of our Ethics Workshop. A student at Ryerson was expelled (at least initially) for launching a discussion group where peers were invited to share answers to assignments.

Ethics Workshop: The class will be consumed with the Ethics Workshop. The readings above will help to give you some insights into how to make ethical decisions as a computer scientist. There is no right or wrong answer. When deciding, you may adopt any number of strategies including: i) imagining a certain social welfare function to apply (e.g. utilitarian to balance everyone's needs or egalitarian to attempt to repair imbalances) ii) imagining what someone whom you admire would do (e.g. Gandhi, Mother Teresa) iii) appealing to the tenets of your religion.

For our Ethics Workshop we are going to discuss the following cases one by one and I will take a Poll to see how people feel and then I will invite students to share the reasons they chose their answers. While only some students will be sharing their views during classtime, the opportunity for reflection on the topic is still very important for everyone.

The cases we will discuss are from the Ethics Workshop handout on the Handouts page. Cases: A) Ryerson student (readings) B) Page 1 of Handout: Scenario 3.5 but in a setting where PIPEDA laws have not yet passed in our country C) Part B of handout: 1st case -- relying on questionable inputs D) Part B of handout: 2nd case -- ignoring voting machine malfunctions and if we have time E) Marketing a software product know to have bugs [tax software, believes to be the first, adds a disclaimer, people buy and get dinged by the government]

Questions to respond to will be: Who are the parties involved and for each, do you feel they acted ethically, unethically or there is no ethics issue.

Announcements: - start A5 early (you make a choice and you must do research with references (be suitably broad and deep both)) - finish A6 while you can - continue to attend RPEs - A3 comments will be in the Prof. Cohen folder around end of Week 8 and should be helpful towards A5 (an essay of the same length, also requiring research and backing for arguments) - Ethics Workshop cases are ideally to be skimmed before class Week 8 (I will give you time to quickly read in class as well each of the cases we are discussing).