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CSC 322.01, Class 11: Professional ethics, continued


  • Preliminaries
    • Notes and news
    • Upcoming work
    • Extra credit
    • Questions
  • Discussion question 1: Papers
  • Discussion question 2: Curriculum
  • Discussion question 3: CSC 151

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.)
  • Don’t forget to keep up with clients and getting your projects in order! You should be writing user stories.

Upcoming Work

  • More readings for Tuesday. To be distributed.

Good things to do

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


  • Convocation immediately after this class
  • CS Table Tuesday: Tapia
  • CS Extras Thursday: Grad school



Discussion question 1: Papers

What did you see as the core/important themes in these three papers? Why? How do/will they inform your own practice?

  • Computer scientists should gain the trust of the public. That’s hard, because we do so much crap as a discipline, but nonetheless. The code o ethics would help us gain that trust of the public, as would following it. Get good stuff publicized, too.
  • What we write affects people: It can discriminate, it can shape how people think, it can shape how people act, it can use people’s times.
  • “Don’t just live with intention; program with intention.”
  • We should think more carefully about whether or not some of these things are okay.
  • Luis Van Ahn - Games with a purpose (idea: Write games that take advantage of the fact that people do many things better than computers.)
    • ESP game: Two people see pictures. They try to pick the same set of five adjectives to describe the picture.
      • Helps with image classification (reveals biases clearly)
      • Helps with machine vision algorithms
  • Value of standards: Law, Medicine, Engineering
    • It could be useful to look into the histories of these.
    • In the US, each of these professions gets certified. Ours does not.

Discussion question 2: Curriculum

Where would you put ethics in the Grinnell CS curriculum?

  • Context: Right now, we have ethics
    • Two-Three days in CSC 322
    • A paper in CSC 322
    • CS Table (not required)
    • Some CS Extras (not required)
    • In unplanned places in courses (optional)
  • Is there value for doing it (more formally) earlier?
  • Are there particular cases that are useful as we introduce it?
  • Add another P: Principles? (Find a greek word that means ethics and starts with P)
  • It needs to be regular practice.

Discussion question 3: CSC 151