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CSC 322.01, Class 10: Professional ethics


  • Preliminaries
    • Notes and news
    • Upcoming work
    • Extra credit
    • Questions
  • Background
  • Key responsibilities
  • Reflection: What responsibilities relate to your project?

News / Etc.

  • Please let me know when you notice problems on the Web site. I think I’ve fixed most of them. (Okay, something is massively wrong with the generation of readings in the schedule, but that turns out to be a programming problem I don’t have time to address.)

Upcoming Work

  • More readings for Thursday. See schedule.

Good things to do

Note: I do not do extra credit in two-credit classes.


  • The various Google activities.


  • Volleyball Wednesday night
  • GHS Homecoming Parade Thursday night



  • You are going to be some subset of computer scientist, software developer, computer professional, coder, SWE
  • The word “profession” is associated with many of these roles.
  • The concept “profession” suggests something about responsibilities to society.
    • Physicians: “Do no harm”
    • Lawyers: …
    • Engineers: …
  • The computing professional societies (ACM and IEEE Comp. Soc.) suggested that, no matter what we call ourselves, we have some associated resopnsibilities.
  • Even if none of that were true, the Grinnell CS department believes that you have a responsibility to think about the impact of the work yo do.
  • We address this belief in multiple ways
    • Raise issues in classes
    • CS table
    • This course
    • CSC 151 - we hope
  • We will
    • reflect on the ACM code of ethics
    • consider a variety of other issues
    • explore some of the underlying ethical frameworks upon which the code is built

Key responsibilities

“Computer scientists clearly care about their responsibilities to the broader world. In particular, our code of ethics says that we should …”

Pick three things that you would highlight.

  • “Duh, these are obvious. Of course I avoid harm to others and do my job well.”
    • The details of what that means are important.
    • Having it in writing means that you can garner support when you want to challenge an action.
    • Having it in writing provides you with ammunition when you confront a less ethical supervisor.
  • We have experienced these issues in our projects.
  • It’s hard.

Reflection: What responsibilities relate to your project?