Information Ethics Courses
Studies philosophy of technology, as well as ethics and modern technology. Considers the relationship between technology and humanity, the social dimensions of technology, and ethical issues raised by emerging technologies. Discusses emerging technologies such as biotechnology, information technology, nanotechnology, and virtual reality.
Examines the impact that information technologies (such as the internet, search engines, blogs, wikis, and smartphones); information processing techniques (such as big data analysis, machine learning, crowdsourcing, and cryptography); and information policies (such as privacy norms and speech restrictions) have on what we know and how much we know, as individuals and as a society. The digital world can enhance our ability to acquire knowledge by providing us with fast and cheap access to huge amounts of information. However, it can also undermine our cognitive abilities and provide us with inaccurate or misleading information. Studies normative frameworks from epistemology and ethics (such as epistemic value theory, the extended mind hypothesis, and moral rights) to evaluate these technologies and policies.
Examines lying and other forms of deception in a wide range of modern contexts from advertising to politics, using different theoretical approaches. Offers students an opportunity to use philosophical and economic theories to investigate what lying is, why people lie, when and why it is wrong to lie, how we can learn from other people even though they might be lying, and how social institutions affect—and are affected by—all of this lying. In modern society, we are confronted with lies, spin, fake news, and even “BS” on a daily basis. Since these forms of deception play such a central role in human life, many philosophers—including Plato, Augustine, and Kant—have studied the ontology, ethics, epistemology, economics, and logic of lying and deception.
Covers issues of justice and the public good in relation to the creation, collection, storage, analysis, processing, dissemination, and use of information. Discusses theories of justice and human rights, as well as ethical theories such as utilitarianism and principlism. Topics include intellectual and cultural property, freedom of expression, access to information, fair representation, and information privacy. Discusses how to create and use information technologies that promote individual flourishing and the public good while avoiding bias, exploitation, and manipulation.
Discusses artificial intelligence and the host of ethical issues it raises: decisions turned over to machine-learning algorithms can be opaque and unfair; autonomous vehicles promise to increase safety but raise challenges for assigning responsibility for accidents; diffusion of AI is likely to transform the labor market in unpredictable ways; and the data that powers machine-learning algorithms raise questions about privacy and security. In order to realize the benefits of AI while responsibly developing and implementing it, it is necessary to identify the ethical issues at stake and work to resolve them. This course takes up the philosophical and ethical questions essential to this project.
Describes the legal and ethical issues associated with collection, use, disclosure, and protection of digital information. Emphasizes legal infrastructure relating to privacy, data ethics, data security, hacking, automation, and intellectual property. Articulates the basic set of rules and rights that are relevant to data practices and protection, evaluates how these rules apply in context, and critically analyzes their efficacy and social impact.
Describes the legal and ethical issues associated with information security including access, use, and dissemination. Emphasizes legal infrastructure relating to information assurance, such as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and Telecommunications Decency Act, and emerging technologies for management of digital rights. Examines the role of information security in various domains such as healthcare, scientific research, and personal communications such as email. Examines criminal activities such as computer fraud and abuse, desktop forgery, embezzlement, child pornography, computer trespass, and computer piracy.