Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy, Spring 2020
|Monday and Wednesday, 3:00 p.m.–4:20 p.m. in this Zoom meeting. Requires signing in with stanford.edu account; please make sure to create an account before the first class.
|Add to Google Calendar
|How to enroll
|Permission to enroll in CS181/CS181W will be granted to as many students as possible (up to 100 in CS181W, and 25 in CS181). To add your name to the waitlist, students are required to complete a short writing assignment due the first day of class. Please complete the writing assignment by 3 p.m. on April 6 (the revised first day of class). If you have completed the assignment and application and received a spot in the class, here is your enrollment code to use on Axess.
|Please post questions on the class Piazza.
|Held on Thursday or Friday, starting in first week of class. Please fill out the section signup form.
|No final exam
|181W students will meet with an instructor from the Technical Communication Program to revise and resubmit one of their assignments.
|The major assignment in the class is a quarter-long project, culminating in a poster session and a presentation day at the end of the term. Please read the final project guidelines and due dates.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Office hours: Tuesdays (with Briggs) and Thursdays, 11 a.m.–noon at this Zoom meeting
CS 181/181W will focus on teaching:
- how to recognize (how to train a grasshopper on your shoulder to be vigilant about noticing) when a decision you are facing has a significant ethical implication
- how to reason about what should happen, consistent with the norms, culture, and experience of our discipline
- how to make well-reasoned, persuasive arguments that can influence the course of events.
As per university policy for Spring 2019-2020 quarter, grading for everyone will be on a Satisfactory/No Credit basis. We will weight components of the course for grading as follows:
- Self-Care: 10%
- Writing Assignments: 30%
- Project: 30%
- Lecture Participation: 10%
- Section Participation: 20%
Spring 2020 FAQ
Traditionally, CS181/181W is taught in a discussion-based, participatory format. With a cap of 125 students in the class, this will be the largest discussion-based class you have ever taken—and the largest videoconference we have ever conducted. We will do our best to teach you how to recognize situations with ethical import, reason about the right course of action, and persuade your organization to follow, and we'll do exercises in class and in section to help you hone your reasoning and persuasive skills. The class includes a major project that requires interacting with the world outside the Stanford campus. Attendance in the Zoom classes is required to participate in the discussions; the class is not recorded.
Please read the course FAQ included here:
This is a class on ethics. All students are expected to follow the honor code, to give proper credit for work and for ideas, to act with integrity, and to “take an active part in seeing to it that others as well as themselves uphold the spirit and letter of the Honor Code.” The course staff is happy to answer questions, hypothetical or otherwise, about ethics in academic work and in computer science—it's what this course is about.
|Due before class
Unit 1: risk and responsibility
|Monday, April 6
|Complete the writing assignment (required for entry to CS181/181W)
|L1 Overview of the class
|Wednesday, April 8
Please fill out:
|S1 First section meetings
|Monday, April 13
|L3 Risk and Reward
|Wednesday, April 15
(WIM Students Only) Please complete:
Please choose only one slot for a remote conference. Send a copy of your work to the TCP instructor at least one day in advance of meeting! TCP instructors will send you a Zoom link.
TCP team emails:
|S2 Second section meetings
|Monday, April 20
|L5 Risk Redux
|Wednesday, April 22
Unit 2: AI discrimination and automated decision-making
|Monday, April 27
|L7 What Good Are Statistics?
|Wednesday, April 29
|L8 Statistics and Fairness
|Monday, May 4
|L9 AI Fairness
|Wednesday, May 6
|No readings—please work on your projects.
|L10 How to lie with statistics (Winstein lecture)
|Monday, May 11
|L11 AI and accountability
Unit 3: Silicon Valley Inc.
|Wednesday, May 13
|L12 Participation in the tech industry
|Monday, May 18
|L13 Gender in the Silicon Valley professional workplace
|Wednesday, May 20
|Monday, May 25
|Memorial Day (no classes)
|Wednesday, May 27
|L15 Incentives and emergent behavior
Unit 4: Hacking and information
|Monday, June 1
|L16 copyright and free software
|Wednesday, June 3
|L17 surveillance and privacy
|Thursday–Friday, June 4–5
|Final project writeups due (in section)
|Section project presentations in section
|Monday, June 8
|Please watch these two videos:
|Wednesday, June 10
|L19 presentations in lecture from selected projects
End of class Have a fulfilling and healthy summer!