Office Hours: Mondays 2:00 - 3:00 pm, CSE 220
This course will investigate the role of values in how practitioners in artificial intelligence (AI), such as engineers and researchers, evaluate and construct systems which are automating tasks currently accomplished by humans. We will look at the effects of automation in thought work as well as in mechanized systems, and how practitioners in automation can perceive their own work in relation to broader social contexts. We will explore questions related to AI bias, identity, and the dissemination of information, among others. These questions will be motivated with hands-on work and discussion.
The course is targeted at motivated undergraduates in computer science who wish to delve deeper into the ethical questions surrounding automation. I expect that students will come into this course with varying familiarity with concepts in AI and its cross-disciplinary applications. Over the duration of the course, students will critically evaluate the day to day practices of fields within AI, as well as think about issues concerning the governance of the systems they have a hand in building.
This course will provide a space for students to analyze and articulate their views concerning ethical issues facing AI technologies. The point of this class is not for the dictation of what is ethical (or the contrary), but rather for students to hone their skills in critically exploring the development and implications of AI systems. At the end of this course, students will have gained a broader conception of dilemmas in current AI technologies and will have a stronger framework with which to develop their own ethical responsibilities.
In each class we will investigate a topic which relates to the ethics, governance and design of AI systems. Each section will have a pre-assigned reading and supplementary content for students to explore. Discussions will be largely student driven, so I expect students to arrive prepared with discussion questions which interrogate the assigned readings. I encourage students draw upon their background and previous discussion sections to engage with the complexity of the subject at hand. Questions can include clarifications of particular portions of the text, relationships between the reading and a current event, or an interrogation into the values and underlying premises on which the reading was based.
We will begin each class by having a group of two or three students present on the assigned readings and the day’s subject. Each presentation should briefly review the paper and then engage with it through a set of initial discussion questions, tie-ins with other readings, and relate it to other outside research conducted by students. Please sign up here for a presentation.
Presentations will be followed by small group discussions, and finally we will turn to addressing the issues present in the topic through a large, class-wide discussion.
Students will also have the opportunity to go further with the ideas they’ve learned in class through a final project. Students can work in groups up to three people on a final project. Projects can include leading a discussion on an issue of interest, propose a solution to a problem posed in class (including code, if so desired), identify key stakeholders of a technology, analyze possible harmful implications of a current AI system, policy proposal or set of beliefs surrounding AI, or clarify in detail a key concept or definition discussed in class. I encourage you to meet with me to discuss your project proposal. There will also be opportunities to work on the final project in class.
Students should submit a project proposal by the fourth week of class describing: 1) members of the group, 2) the title of the project, 3) a project description no longer than one page, 4) two or more sources they plan to reference. This will be due 1/28 at 11:59pm.
The final projects will be due at 11:59 pm on 3/4 via email to Johan. The final section (3/12/19) will be devoted to presenting and discussing student final projects. Depending on the number of projects, we will also use our final exam period (3/22/19 - 2:30-4:20 pm) for final project presentations.
This seminar will be graded credit or no credit. In order to receive credit, students must submit 7/9 write-ups, present at one of the seminars, and complete the final project. That said, the point of this course is not a grade. Students should attend because of the readings and discussions—not in spite of them.
There is no required textbook for this class. All readings will be available on the home page of the course website--the majority of which will be either scans or online articles. Weekly readings will be announced on the Tuesday prior to when they’re due. I encourage students to share with me and the class readings they come upon.
- Read Be Careful What You Code For - Danah Boyd, 2016 (6 pages)
- Read Algorithms aren’t racist. Your skin is just too dark. - Joy Buolamwini, 2017 (4 pages)
- Skim ACM code of ethics and professional conduct - ACM, 1992 (11 pages)
- Post on the discussion board due Friday, 1/11, at 11:59pm
- Read Ethics After the Information Revolution (p. 1 – 19)
1/15: (Un) Ethical Machines
- Read Whose Life Should Your Car Save - Azim Shariff, Iyad Rahwan and Jean-François Bonnefon, 2016 (3 pages)
- Read Ethical Machinery - I.J. Good, 1980 (16 pages)
- Read Physiognomy's New Clothes - Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Margaret Mitchell and Alexander Todorov, 2017 (33 pages)
- Read Machine Bias - Angwin, Larson, Mattu, and Kirchner, 2016 (15 pages)
- Post on the discussion board due Monday, 1/14, at 11:59pm
- Read AI at Google: our principles - Sundar Pichai, 2018
1/22: Reality Distortion I: Manifestos
- Read The Critical Engineering Manifesto - Julian Oliver, Gordan Savičić and Danja Vasiliev, 2017 (1 page)
- Read Resisting Reduction: A Manifesto - Joichi Ito, 2018 (10 pages)
- Read It's Not Privacy, and It's Not Fair - Cynthia Dwork & Deirdre K. Mulligan, 2013 (6 pages)
- Post on the discussion board due Monday, 1/21, at 11:59pm
- Read A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century - Donna Haraway, 1991
1/29: Rationality, Operationalization and the Margins
- Skim Operationalization Wikipedia Article
- Read Some Social Implications of Modern Technology - Herbert Marcuse, 1941 (26 pages)
- Read The Misgendering Machines: Trans/HCI Implications of Automatic Gender Recognition - OS Keyes, 2018 (22 pages)
- Post on the discussion board due Monday, 1/28, at 11:59pm
- Submit a project proposal due Monday, 1/28, at 11:59pm
2/5: Value Sensitive Design
2/12: Algorithmic Bias and Fairness
- Read Inspecting Algorithms for Bias - Matthias Spielkamp, 2017 (5 pages)
- Read Introduction to Fairness and machine learning - Solon Barocas, Moritz Hardt and Arvind Narayanan, 2019 (In progress, 36 pages)
- Read Inclusive ML guide - AutoML, 2018 (10 pages)
- Post on the discussion board due Monday, 2/11, at 11:59pm
- Read A computer program used for bail and sentencing decisions was labeled biased against blacks. It’s actually not that clear - Sam Corbett-Davies, Emma Pierson, Avi Feller, and Sharad Goel, 2016
- Read Make Algorithms Accountable - Julia Angwin, 2016
- Watch Fairness in Machine Learning Tutorial - Solon Barocas and Moritz Hardt, 2017
- Read The rise of big data policing - Andrew Ferguson, 2017
- Read Beyond the Rhetoric of Algorithmic Solutionism - Danah Boyd, 2018
2/19: Engineering Culture
- Read What have we done? Silicon valley engineers fear they’ve created a monster - Susan Fowler, 2018 (5 pages)
- Read Are We Having An Ethical Crisis in Computing? - Moshe Y. Vardi, 2019 (3 pages)
- Read Three Hours in 2024 - Johan Michalove and Jared Moore, 2019 (13 pages)
- Post on the discussion board due Monday, 2/18, at 11:59pm
- Read Why the Luddites Matter - TheLuddbrarian, 2018 (10 pages)
2/26: Reality Distortion II: DeepFakes and Democracy
- Read It’s the (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age of Free Speech - Zeynep Tufekci, 2018 (9 pages)
- Watch Deepfake Videos Are Getting Real and That's a Problem - Hilke Schellmann, 2018
- Post on the discussion board due Monday, 2/25, at 11:59pm
- Read Is This Time Different? The Opportunities and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence - Jason Furman, 2016 (17 pages)
- Read The Relentless Pace of Automation - David Rotman, 2017 (9 pages)
- Post on the discussion board due Monday, 3/4, at 11:59pm
- Submit your final assignment and register for a presentation slot due Monday, 3/4, at 11:59pm
- Read Are Ethicists an Obstacle to Progress? - Michael Hauskeller, 2015
3/12: Project Presentations
- Read Universal Design versus User Custom Design - John Akers, 2019 (4 pages)
- Read Petition For Ethics - Vivaan Bhatia, Thomas Merth and Brian Bartles, 2019 (1 page)
- Read Through the Eyes of AI - Anirudh Canumalla, Blake Berger, Kunaal Sikka, 2019 (2 pages)
- Read Google Assistant: How Far Will You Go to Save 30 Seconds? - Sven Hansen, 2019 (2 pages)
- Read A Comic on Social Media Culture - Anita Leung, Amy Shah and Isha Sharma, 2019 (2 pages)
- Read Harm of Tesla Autopilot - Kexuan Liu, 2019 (2 pages)
- Read taking a stand. ethically-driven actions and activism initiated by technology's creators and users. - Frankie O'Rourke, 2019 (5 pages)
- Read A Layman's Introduction to the Ethics of Computing - Soham Pardeshi, 2019 (1 page)
- Read Machine Consciousness - Andrey Ryabtsev, James Morren and Evan Blajev, 2019 (10 slides)
- Play OfficeSwipe and read OfficeSwipe: A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Game writeup - Matthew Tenczar, Guramrit Singh and Tam Dang, 2019 (4 pages)
- Read Protecting US Consumers rights in the Modern era - Colin Topper, 2019 (2 pages)
- Read AI Morality - Joyce Zhou, 2019 (5 pages)
- Fill out the course evaluation