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Here you will find a schedule for the semester, and below that a detailed list of readings.  

NOTE: Topics to be covered and the corresponding readings are subject to change. Please always check the online schedule and the list of class readings.


Week Topic Assignments
Two-day week
Jan 14/15
no classes
Week 1:
Jan 18
(M) MLK Holiday
(W) Intro & Overview (Slides Purusal pdf, Video)
Discussion Guide
Week 2:
Jan 25
(M) Case Study: Therac-25 (Slides Perusal pdf, Video)
(W) Rhetoric & Writing Arguments (Slides Perusal pdf, Video)
Discussion Guide
Week 3:
Feb 1
(M) Do Artifacts Have Politics?
(W) Utilitarianism
HW: Therac and the 737-MAX
Week 4:
Feb 8
(M) Deontology
(W) Social Contract Theory
HW: Reflection on the politics of a technologic artifact
Week 5:
Feb 15
(M) Stakeholder Analysis
(W) Virtue Ethics
Week 6:
Feb 22
(M) Freedom of Speech and Networked Communications
(W) Regulating Online Speech
HW: Applying Ethical Frameworks to a Dilemma
Week 7:
Mar 1
(M) Intellectual Property
(W) Software as IP
Term Paper Proposal
Week 8:
Mar 8
(M) Privacy
(W) Privacy and the Government
HW: Fair Use
Week 9:
Mar 15
(M) Surveillance / USA Patriot Act
Tuesday is break
(W) Privacy and Biological Data
Week 10:
Mar 22
(M) Professional Ethics
(W) break day, no Discussion Session this week
Term Paper Outline
Week 11:
Mar 29
(M) Network Neutrality
(W) Race in Computing
HW: New ACM Code
Week 12:
Apr 5
(M) Work and Wealth
(W) Technology and Pandemics
Week 13:
Apr 12
(M) AI, Algorithms, and Bias
(W) Fake News and Deep Fakes
Week 14:
Apr 19
(M) Electronic Voting
Term Paper Presentation in Session
Last Week:
Apr 26
(M) Envisioning the Singularities Ahead Term Paper Due

Here you will find the readings for each day. Optional readings are in italics.


Week 2

Monday: Case Study: Therac-25

  • Quinn Chapter 8.5
  • Leveson, N. (1995). Medical devices: The therac-25. Appendix of: Safeware: System Safety and Computers. [pdf] [in Perusal on Canvas]


  • Radiation Offers New Cures, and Ways to Do Harm, The New York Times [link]
  • Ganesh, T. (2014). Incident reporting and learning in radiation oncology: Need of the hour. Journal of Medical Physics/Association of Medical Physicists of India, 39(4), 203. [pdf] [in Perusal on Canvas]

Wednesday: Rhetoric & Writing Arguments

Week 3

Monday: Do Artifacts Have Politics?

  • Winner, L. (1980). Do artifacts have politics?. Daedalus, 121-136. [pdf] [in Perusal on Canvas]
  • Gillespie, T. (2014). The relevance of algorithms. Media technologies: Essays on communication, materiality, and society, 167, 167. [pdf] [in Perusal on Canvas]


  • Planet Money episode 924: Stuck in China's Panopticon (time: 26:36) [link]

Wednesday: Utilitarianism

  • Quinn Chapter 2.1-2.3, 2.7-2.8

Week 4

Monday: Deontology

  • Quinn Chapter 2.6
  • Rachels, J (2011). The Elements of Moral Philosophy (7th Ed), Chapter 9: “Are there absolute moral rules?” [pdf] [in Perusal on Canvas]

Wednesday: Social Contract Theory

Week 5

Monday: Stakeholder Analysis

  • Quinn 2.12
  • Gilligan, C. (1993). In a different voice. Harvard University Press, pp. 24-39 [on Perusal in Canvas]

Wednesday: Virtue Ethics

  • Quinn Chapter 2.10-2.11
  • Hursthouse, Rosalind and Pettigrove, Glen, "Virtue Ethics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.) [link]

Still tentative below this line

Week 6

Monday: Freedom of Speech and Networked Communications

  • Quinn Chapter (7th: 3.2, 3.5-3.8; 8th: 3.2, 3.6-3.9)  skim the rest of the chapter
  • Warf, B. (2011). Geographies of global Internet censorship. GeoJournal, 76(1), 1-23. [pdf]

Wednesday: Regulating Online Speech

  • Banks, J. (2010). Regulating hate speech online. International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, 24(3), 233-239. [pdf]
  • Nott, L (2019) Does the First Amendment Protect Speech Made By Artificial Intelligence? Freedom Forum Institute [link]


  • Chancellor, S., Pater, J. A., Clear, T., Gilbert, E., & De Choudhury, M. (2016, February). #thyghgapp: Instagram content moderation and lexical variation in pro-eating disorder communities. In Proceedings of the 19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (pp. 1201-1213). ACM. [pdf]
  • Reddit bans 'Fat People Hate' and other subreddits under new harassment rules, The Verge [link]

Week 7

Monday: Intellectual Property

  • Quinn Chapter 4.1-4.6

Wednesday: Software as IP

  • Quinn Chapter 4.7-4.10

Week 8

Monday: Privacy

  • Quinn Chapter 5

Optional Readings (some will likely become required)

Wednesday: Privacy and the Government

  • Quinn Chapter 6 (except 6.6)
  • Botsman, R. (2017). Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens. Wired UK, 21. [pdf] [Perusal on Canvas]
  • The NSA's Secret Role in the US Assassination Program, The Intercept [link] [Perusal on Canvas]

Week 9

Surveillance / USA Patriot Act


Wednesday: Privacy and Biological Data

Week 10

Monday: Professional Ethics

  • Quinn Chapter 9
  • ACM Code of Conduct
  • Anderson, R. E., Johnson, D. G., Gotterbarn, D., & Perrolle, J. (1993). Using the new ACM code of ethics in decision making. Communications of the ACM, 36(2), 98-107. [pdf]

Week 11

Monday:  Network Neutrality


Wednesday: Race in Computing


Week 12

Monday:  Work and Wealth


  • Imagine Discovering That Your Teaching Assistant Really Is a Robot, The Wall Street Journal [link]
  • Goldhahn, J., Rampton, V., & Spinas, G. A. (2018). Could artificial intelligence make doctors obsolete?. Bmj, 363, k4563. [pdf]
  • AI Will Change Radiology, but It Won’t Replace Radiologists, Harvard Business Review [link]
  • The Watch Is Smart, but It Can’t Replace Your Doctor, New York Times [link]

Wednesday: Technology and Pandemics

  • Guariglia, M., and Schwartz, A. Protecting Civil Liberties During a Public Health Crisis, Electronic Frontier Foundation. [link]
  • Servick, K. Cellphone tracking could help stem the spread of coronavirus. Is privacy the price? Science Magazine. [link]


  • How Surveillance Could Save Lives Amid a Public Health Crisis, Wired [link]
  • Brewster, T. Two Million Guinea Pigs And Counting: The Remarkable Rise Of Self-Monitoring In The Time Of Coronavirus, Forbes. [link]
  • Raskar, R., Schunemann, I., Barbar, R., Vilcans, K., Gray, J., Vepakomma, P., Kapa, S. et al. "Apps Gone Rogue: Maintaining Personal Privacy in an Epidemic." arXiv preprint arXiv:2003.08567 (2020). [pdf]

Week 13

Monday: Algorithmic Bias and Fairness


  • Edelman, B., Luca, M., & Svirsky, D. (2017). Racial discrimination in the sharing economy: Evidence from a field experiment. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 9(2), 1-22. [pdf]
  • Kay, M., Matuszek, C., & Munson, S. A. (2015, April). Unequal representation and gender stereotypes in image search results for occupations. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3819-3828). [pdf]
  • When It Comes to Gorillas, Google Photos Remains Blind, Wired [link]
  • Supposedly ‘Fair’ Algorithms Can Perpetuate Discrimination, Wired [link
  • Wang, Y., & Kosinski, M. (2018). Deep neural networks are more accurate than humans at detecting sexual orientation from facial images. Journal of personality and social psychology, 114(2), 246. [pdf]

Wednesday: Fake News and Deep Fakes

  • The Agency (view in incognito mode to access)
  • Starbird, K. (2017). Examining the Alternative Media Ecosystem Through the Production of Alternative Narratives of Mass Shooting Events on Twitter. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 11(1). Retrieved from [pdf]

Week 14

Monday: Electronic Voting, Democracy and Computing


Wednesday: TBA

Week 15

Monday: Envisioning the Singularities Ahead

  • Wolter Pieters. 2018. On Security Singularities. In Proceedings of the New Security Paradigms Workshop (NSPW '18). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 80–88. DOI: [pdf]
  • A. H. Eden et al. (eds.), Singularity Hypotheses, The Frontiers Collection, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-32560-1_1,  Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012 [pdf]

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