Autonomous cars

This week, we continued our conversation on robots and ethics by taking a look at ethics issues related to autonomous cars. We read Daniel did a great job of presenting the Awad paper, which highlights the three principles that everyone seem to agree on, and how everyone’s moral preferences diverge from there. Then we read […]

Social Robots

In the last few sessions, we had lively conversations on the ethics and politics of automated decision making systems, and the roles of humans in them. This week, and following interest by several participants, we will be discussing what happens when computing acquires embodied and affective characteristics. We have two exciting readings on social robots […]

Ethics of Automated Decision Making; Heteromation

The readings on the algorithmic automation of welfare last week led to a lively conversation on the recasting of social work as information processing, the role of tech corporations in designing the “digital welfare state”, and the institutional and physical architectures (the poorhouse) that preceded and prefigured its workings. As a group, we decided to […]

Automation and Inequality

Our discussions on social constructionist approaches to technology and the case history of homophily, led us to discuss the role technology plays in exacerbate inequality in our society. To delve into it a bit further, we will read two short, recent journalistic articles relevant to the topic, and two chapters from a book to set the scene […]

Social constructions of technology

In the last session, we explored the notion of authoritarian to democratic technics described in the 60’s against the backdrop of how democratic and decentralized nature of open source software development that significantly contribute to our digital infrastructure has its own challenges. We will continue the conversation with a recent article on the urban (and racial) history […]

Democratic technics

If, to echo a theme from the first session, technical configurations embed social and political order, then can technologies be democratic, or be rendered as such by specific modes of technological governance? This session will explore this question through a recent report on digital infrastructure and hidden challenges of open source software, paired with a […]

Machine bias and the politics of artifacts

We will be kicking off our conversations with a pairing of a recent Pulitzer-nominated piece on algorithmic bias and a landmark text on technologically-embedded politics: —  The first piece is a report on bias in algorithms predicting recidivism, published in the investigative journalism nonprofit ProPublica by Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu and Lauren Kirchner. […]

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