Computers in Society
MSc Option course, Hilary Term
This course will focus on some of the most pressing ethical, legal and policy-related problems that contemporary societies face in the age of the information revolution. Core topics will be professional responsibilities of software developers as well as individual rights in the information age, balancing of cyber-security measures and individual liberties, cyber-warfare and cyber-activism.
The main objectives of the module will be to expose students to the ethical and legal problems raised by the pervasive dissemination of computing technologies, thereby fostering critical reflection upon such problems.
Outcomes: The learning outcomes envisaged for this module are as follows:
•A broad knowledge and refined understanding of the relevant literature on ethical and legal issues pertaining computing technology;
•Awareness of the importance of considering ethical and societal implications at both the design and deployment stages of technological artefacts;
•Provision of informed opinions in debates about topics relating to technology and its effects on society;
•Refinement of presentation, writing and critical skills.
1. Technology and Society: the information revolution, meta-ethics, normative ethics, applied ethics, information and computer ethics.
2. Rights in the age of the information revolution: privacy, anonymity, transparency, security.
3. Computers and the law: legal issues associated with public access to information; issues of control; intellectual property rights; software ownership; copyright patents.
4. Computing Technology and Social Interactions: online trust, computer games and online identity.
5. Automation: moral and legal responsibility of designers and professional codes of practice.
6. Cyber conflicts: ethical and regulatory gap.
7. Students’ presentations.
8. Values and Design.