Ethics for Nerds Kevin Baum, Holger Hermanns

News

09.10.2017

Re-exam: Results online

Dear participants,

the results of the re-exam are online now. The inspection will take place on Tuesday next week (17 Oktober) at 8:30 am to 9:50 am in my office (Room 2.14 in Building C 5 2). 

So Long(, and Thanks for All the Fish).

 

P.S.: When you... Read more

Dear participants,

the results of the re-exam are online now. The inspection will take place on Tuesday next week (17 Oktober) at 8:30 am to 9:50 am in my office (Room 2.14 in Building C 5 2). 

So Long(, and Thanks for All the Fish).

 

P.S.: When you received a mail that you have failed, but you haven't even registered for the (re-)exam, please just ignore that mail. Only your LSF registration matter. The system accidentally sent mails to all registered users... Sorry for any inconveniences resulting from that. 

20.09.2017

[Updated] Re-exam

There have been an anonymous question (via feedback) concerning the time and date of the exam tomorrow. Just to be sure:

  • where: HS II in E2.5 
  • start: 10:15
  • the exam will take 90 minutes. Please be there at 10 am sharp!

(To clarify: nothing has changed... Read more

There have been an anonymous question (via feedback) concerning the time and date of the exam tomorrow. Just to be sure:

  • where: HS II in E2.5 
  • start: 10:15
  • the exam will take 90 minutes. Please be there at 10 am sharp!

(To clarify: nothing has changed regarding location or date/time. It has been communicated before and can be found, for instance, in the timetable section since months.)

Update: As already said, the rules for the re-exam are the same as for the exam. I.e. you are allowed to bring a cheat sheet and a dictionary.

09.09.2017

Re-exam Registration

If you plan to take the re-exam, you have to register

  1. in the LSF and
  2. in the dcms.

The deadline for both is the 14.09.17.

04.09.2017

For those who need certificates

If you are one of those who need certificates: Ms. Schäfer has some free days this and the next week. So please make an appointment with her by mail for picking your certificate up: schaefer@cs.uni-saarland.de

30.08.2017

Exam Results in LSF & Certificates ("Scheine")

The results of the first exam are settled now. Furthermore, for most of you this means that they've been entered into the LSF. For some others, it means that we can issue your certificates. If you need one (and we know this is true for those of you who participated... Read more

The results of the first exam are settled now. Furthermore, for most of you this means that they've been entered into the LSF. For some others, it means that we can issue your certificates. If you need one (and we know this is true for those of you who participated in the exam, but were not registered in the LSF), then we will prepare your certificate early next week and you can pick it up at the office of Ms. Schäfer (building E1 3, room 505) from upcoming Wednesday onwards. 

21.08.2017

Exam Results and Inspection

You can now see your grade in the dcms.

The exam inspection will take place on Friday, 25.08. from 8:30 until 10:30 in room 202 in C5 2 (which is a seminar room in the philosophy department). You can enter the building again and we extended the inspection for 15... Read more

You can now see your grade in the dcms.

The exam inspection will take place on Friday, 25.08. from 8:30 until 10:30 in room 202 in C5 2 (which is a seminar room in the philosophy department). You can enter the building again and we extended the inspection for 15 more minutes. There currently is an unexpected exercise for the evacuation of the building in case of a fire. So you cannot enter the building temporarily.

29.07.2017

[Updated] Information About the Exam

The exam will take place in the Günther-Hotz-Hörsaal on Wednesday, 2nd August, 2 – 4 pm. We will start at 2:15 pm (and not any later), but please be there at 2:00 to get seated, etc. You are allowed to bring a dictionary as well as one handwritten DIN A4 sheet of... Read more

The exam will take place in the Günther-Hotz-Hörsaal on Wednesday, 2nd August, 2 – 4 pm. We will start at 2:15 pm (and not any later), but please be there at 2:00 to get seated, etc. You are allowed to bring a dictionary as well as one handwritten DIN A4 sheet of paper with you. You can write on both sides. No other materials are allowed. Please also have your student ID with you.

The tutors were so nice and compiled a summary of what Kevin said during the last lecture. You can find it in the dcms. Nevertheless, this is no “official” document and is supplied without liability! We also uploaded the prep exam from the tutorials. It is available in the dcms, too.

25.07.2017

Last Tutorial and Lecture

The next tutorial will be held as an Office Hour. You can drop by anytime in any slot you like and ask the tutor(s) there questions.
In the next lecture, we will do a recap of important things and discuss details of the exam. There will be time to ask questions, too.

24.07.2017

Assignments

The students, who were still missing feedback for Assignment 8 or Assignment 9 got their feedback now. The remaining essays will be corrected as soon as possible. Everybody should know whether he or she has the admission by Monday evening.

17.07.2017

Course Evaluation

You can now find the results of the evaluation in the section 'Materials' in the dcms. Thanks for your participation!

11.07.2017

Exam Registration

You have to register for the exam in two ways:

  1. Register in the LSF as usual. You can register and/or deregister until the 26th July. (Depending on your major you won't be able to register in the LSF or other deadlines hold for you. If this is the case,... Read more

You have to register for the exam in two ways:

  1. Register in the LSF as usual. You can register and/or deregister until the 26th July. (Depending on your major you won't be able to register in the LSF or other deadlines hold for you. If this is the case, register for this exam as you usually register for exams. Let us know if you encounter any problems.) You have to register for the exam and the reexam seperately.
  2. Register in the dcms, too. You will find a registration on your "Personal Status" page. Please register there until the 19th July, if you plan to take the exam. If you already do or don't have the exam admission does not matter. You have no disadvantage if you register in the dcms, but don't take the exam. Nevertheless, please only register if you really plan to take the exam.
27.06.2017

Tomorrow's Tutorial

Tomorrow's tutorials will be in an office hour-like style, where you can come and ask questions about the essay or continue writing. You can also drop by for only part of the usual time, if you want.

See you tomorrow,
your tutors

27.06.2017

Deadline Essay

We will shift the deadline to hand in your essay to Sunday, 2nd July, 23:59.

Good luck writing your essay!
 

25.06.2017

Questions Regarding the Essay

Hello everyone,

we got some anonymous feedback asking a specific question about the definition of the task for the second essay. Two things:

1)    Such questions are best asked in the forum or in an email to your tutor.  Anonymous comments of this kind are, in... Read more

Hello everyone,

we got some anonymous feedback asking a specific question about the definition of the task for the second essay. Two things:

1)    Such questions are best asked in the forum or in an email to your tutor.  Anonymous comments of this kind are, in general, not answered (as they are anonymous and thus we cannot answer you). Anonymous feedback is for everything you want to let us know without wanting an answer.

2)    We think the task is given very clear, but to play it safe:

You should make your mind, whether you either think

a.    We should take the approach in the exercise under any circumstances OR

b.    we should not take the approach in the exercise under any circumstances OR

c.    if you are standing somewhere is between and if yes, where.

Now give the strongest arguments you can think of for using this approach and against using this approach. Make both as strong as possible. Ponder on both arguments, explain why they are or are not clashing. Use this to give reason for your opinion on the topic (so either a, b or your specific version of c).

If you have questions regarding the essay, write an email to your tutor and attend tomorrow’s Nerd Night (6 pm, E1.1, room 407, free pizza for everyone).

16.06.2017

Moral Banana Peel #10

We briefly talked about lying AI and so does this article: https://qz.com/1004070/facebook-fb-built-an-ai-system-that-learned-to-lie-to-get-what-it-wants/

But beware: it might be a fake story, bad journalism or exaggerated! (Can you find out? Let us know when you... Read more

We briefly talked about lying AI and so does this article: https://qz.com/1004070/facebook-fb-built-an-ai-system-that-learned-to-lie-to-get-what-it-wants/

But beware: it might be a fake story, bad journalism or exaggerated! (Can you find out? Let us know when you found evidence!)

Even if it was not true, would it still be conceivable to write a system like this?
If it was true, what could we learn from it? Do (some of) the conclusions we reach here even depend on the truth of the article?

Don't slip!

09.06.2017

Moral Banana Peel #9

The Share Lab did a litte reasearch on what facebook supposedly does with our data: https://labs.rs/en/facebook-algorithmic-factory-immaterial-labour-and-data-harvesting/
If you don't have time to read through the whole story, make sure to at least have a look at... Read more

The Share Lab did a litte reasearch on what facebook supposedly does with our data: https://labs.rs/en/facebook-algorithmic-factory-immaterial-labour-and-data-harvesting/
If you don't have time to read through the whole story, make sure to at least have a look at the big graphic that summarizes the report -- even though this is (as usual) not a mandatory read for this lecture, it's definitly worth a look: https://labs.rs/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FacebookFactory-01.gif

Don't slip!

07.06.2017

[Updated] Two Additional Events and Next Week's Lecture

1. As we have promised you, there will be another Nerd Night for the second essay. It will take place

in E1.1, room 407 on Thursday, 22.06. from 6 to 9 pm.
Because of the Firmenlauf on the same day, we will have our Nerd Night on the 26th June in E1.1 room... Read more

1. As we have promised you, there will be another Nerd Night for the second essay. It will take place

in E1.1, room 407 on Thursday, 22.06. from 6 to 9 pm.
Because of the Firmenlauf on the same day, we will have our Nerd Night on the 26th June in E1.1 room 407.

2. Upon this morning's request we will have an additional tutorial on Wednesday morning. If you are still unsure how to write a valid argument, how to bring a foreign textual form to a tabular form or anything alike (or just are unsure why we sometimes subtract points on your argument where you don't expect it), then join our additional tutorial on arguments

in E2.1 room 001 on Wednesday, 14.06. from 8:30 to 10 am.

We will first explain everything you have to know about arguments again and in detail and then go on to a phase where you can practice for yourself.  This additional tutorial will be interesting both for students who did not understand arguments at all as well as for everyone who thinks he or she understood everything very well.

3. As Thursday next week is a public holidy, we will have our lecture again on Wednesday. So next week's lecture is

in E2.1 room 001 on Wednesday, 14.06. from 10 to 12 am.

06.06.2017

Remarks Concerning the Essay

Hello everyone,

as the first essays are already handed in, we want to remind you that you need to explicitly state at least your main arugment in tabular form. Also your argument needs to be valid! If you are still unsure about how to make an argument valid, have... Read more

Hello everyone,

as the first essays are already handed in, we want to remind you that you need to explicitly state at least your main arugment in tabular form. Also your argument needs to be valid! If you are still unsure about how to make an argument valid, have a look at the script again (especially the appendix).

Please note: Even if you already handed in an essay, you are free to change your submission as often as you like until the deadline on Thursday, 08.06. 10:15.

Good luck finishing your essays!

29.05.2017

Nerd Night

If you want to get help with your essay or just want to work on it in a nice environment with help nearby, we will offer a Nerd Night in E1.1, room 407 on 1.06.17 from 6 pm until 9 pm. You can talk about your ideas with your colleagues and with us and write on your... Read more

If you want to get help with your essay or just want to work on it in a nice environment with help nearby, we will offer a Nerd Night in E1.1, room 407 on 1.06.17 from 6 pm until 9 pm. You can talk about your ideas with your colleagues and with us and write on your essay (if you bring your laptop).

27.05.2017

Moral Banana Peel #8

Today's moral banana peel: more examples on how easily we can manipulate video.
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/604270/real-or-fake-ai-is-making-it-very-hard-to-know/

24.05.2017

For the Lecture: Adobe Voco

As there is no audio equipment in today's lecture hall, we will provide you with the Adobe Voco links here.

The original audio: https://youtu.be/I3l4XLZ59iw?t=58s

The manipulated audio: https://youtu.be/I3l4XLZ59iw?t=4m25s

 

20.05.2017

Moral Banana Peel #7

Last lecture we talked about filter bubbles and related concepts. Today we want to provide you with some more material on the topic.

First of all, a very good TED talk that serves as an overview (watch that!): ... Read more

Last lecture we talked about filter bubbles and related concepts. Today we want to provide you with some more material on the topic.

First of all, a very good TED talk that serves as an overview (watch that!): https://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles
Secondly, another real life example on how fake news can spread (what's the problem with this?): https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/business/media/how-fake-news-spreads.html
Thirdly, another article on the topic, questioning its urgence (is the article right?): https://theconversation.com/fake-news-echo-chambers-and-filter-bubbles-underresearched-and-overhyped-76688
And finally, a proposal for a solution of that topic (how good is this solution?): https://www.techradar.com/news/wikipedia-co-founder-joins-the-fight-against-fake-news-with-wikitribune

Don't slip!

14.05.2017

Moral Banana Peel #6

You surely all heard about WanaCrypt0r 2.0, the ransomware that hit (among many others) some English hospitals and the Deutsche Bahn:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/12/nhs-ransomware-cyber-attack-what-is-wanacrypt0r-20
Some interesting question... Read more

You surely all heard about WanaCrypt0r 2.0, the ransomware that hit (among many others) some English hospitals and the Deutsche Bahn:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/12/nhs-ransomware-cyber-attack-what-is-wanacrypt0r-20
Some interesting question rise here, e.g.: Who is responsible? The Shadow Brokers, the NSA, both or none of them? And what should be done to prevent something like this happening again (from a technical, political and moral standpoint)?

Don't slip!

06.05.2017

Moral Banana Peel #5

Currently in the news, and also a taste of what topic is to come in the next lecture:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/06/emmanuel-macron-targeted-by-hackers-on-eve-of-french-election

Don't slip!

05.05.2017

Moral Banana Peel #4

Algorithms as judges? Well, judge for yourself...
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/01/us/politics/sent-to-prison-by-a-software-programs-secret-algorithms.html
Additionally, according to Wired, the court argued that "knowledge of the algorithms's output was a... Read more

Algorithms as judges? Well, judge for yourself...
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/01/us/politics/sent-to-prison-by-a-software-programs-secret-algorithms.html
Additionally, according to Wired, the court argued that "knowledge of the algorithms's output was a sufficient level of transparancy."

Don't slip!

28.04.2017

Moral Banana Peel #2 and #3

Today we have another Banana Peel concerned with Facebook. Don't worry, Facebook does not have the monopoly on bananas, next time we will pick something else, but the following is really interesting again.

Moral Banana Peel #2 is about Facebook's live... Read more

Today we have another Banana Peel concerned with Facebook. Don't worry, Facebook does not have the monopoly on bananas, next time we will pick something else, but the following is really interesting again.

Moral Banana Peel #2 is about Facebook's live broadcasting feature and the problem that it is sometimes used to broadcast murders:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/25/facebook-live-mark-zuckerberg-murder-video-thailand

Moral Banana Peel #3 is a document from Facebook itself and how they see their own rule in this whole disinformation and fake news thing:
https://fbnewsroomus.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/facebook-and-information-operations-v1.pdf
It is a little longer, but very well structured and highlighted and its definitly worth scrolling through.

Don't slip!

28.04.2017

Script is Online

The first version for the script covering the content of the lecture so far is now online.

27.04.2017

Exam Dates

The exam will take place on 02.08.17, 14.00 - 16.00 in the Günther-Hotz-Hörsaal in E2.2. The re-exam will be on 21.09.17, 10.00 - 12.00 in HS II in E2.5.
25.04.2017

Tutorials are assigned

The tutorials are assigned now! On the page 'Personal Status' you can check in which tutorial you are. The room for Tutorial #4 will be annonced in time.
If you are very unhappy with your slot (i.e. you have something else in the same slot, so that you cannot... Read more

The tutorials are assigned now! On the page 'Personal Status' you can check in which tutorial you are. The room for Tutorial #4 will be annonced in time.
If you are very unhappy with your slot (i.e. you have something else in the same slot, so that you cannot attend your tutorial), please write me an email (s9saster@stud.uni-saarland.de). I will then try to move you to another slot.

22.04.2017

Moral Banana Peel #1

Wouldn't it be awesome to have a technology with which you can input text without typing or speaking or doing something equally annoying while, say, walking down Meerwiesertalweg? Well, Facebook has something for you! What do you think?

... Read more

Wouldn't it be awesome to have a technology with which you can input text without typing or speaking or doing something equally annoying while, say, walking down Meerwiesertalweg? Well, Facebook has something for you! What do you think?

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/19/facebook-mind-reading-technology-f8

Don't slip!

21.04.2017

Moral Banana Peel #0

Banana peels are tricky objects on which you can easily slip. So are ethics problems in computer science.

https://youtu.be/wCEzONWoIm8

Alegorically speaking, we want to help you to avoid the problem the robot in the video encountered. At irregular intervals we... Read more

Banana peels are tricky objects on which you can easily slip. So are ethics problems in computer science.

https://youtu.be/wCEzONWoIm8

Alegorically speaking, we want to help you to avoid the problem the robot in the video encountered. At irregular intervals we will send you some real-life examples of those ethical problems on which one easily slips -- let's call them "Moral Banana Peels" -- or other interesting things that are related to our lecture. Reading those is not mandatory, but recommended. It's a great opportunity to apply what you have learned in the lecture on your own and to test your intuitions (and also we try to pick interesting stuff). Most of the time, the Moral Banana Peel will come in form of some journalistic article, but today we want to give you a little tool to play with:

http://moralmachine.mit.edu/

Don't slip!

Show all
 

Ethics for Nerds

The impact of computer science and related fields on our society and everyday life has increased tremendously over the last decade. There is no evidence that this process will end anytime soon. We thus believe that computer scientists should be aware of the societal and morally relevant impact of the artifacts they build and of the systems they contribute to. This awareness can be trained and sharpened. Furthermore, computer scientists ought to have the necessary competences for making morally acceptable and professional decisions in the development processes they are participating in. However, the thoughts and insights of academic ethics – i.e. the thoughts and insights of the field professionally concerned with ethics and morals – are a necessary precondition for these competences, but usually not part of computer scientists' studies and education.

This course aims at bridging this gap. It will introduce both, relevant knowledge from the field of academic moral philosophy and soft skills needed to argue clearly, precisely, and convincingly (i.e. beyond the level of everyday discussions at bars and parties). We will teach you how to apply these skills to problems most likely just lurking around the corner in your career –  be it in research, be in industry. After all, we will explain and train these skills by discussing several current issues live and in color – from filter bubbles over predictive ML-algorithms to autonomous cars. 

But be aware: Philosophy is fun and can be highly addictive.

Contents

This course covers: 

  • an introduction to the methods of philosophy, argumentation theory, and the basics of normative as well as applied ethics;  
  • starting points to evaluate practices and technologies already in use or not that far away, like for instance: Filter Bubble Effects/Echo Chambers, ML-algorithms as predictive tool, GPS-tracking, CCTV and other tools from surveillance, fitness trackers, big data analytics, autonomous vehicles, lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS);
  • a guide through the jungle of moral codices of professional associations, enabling and encouraging you to distinguish convincing and coherent codices from bad and incoherent ones;
  • an outlook on more futuristic fields like machine ethics (longing for implementing and ensuring ethical behavior into software and robots, e.g. autonomous vehicles) and roboethics (concerned with the morally adequate behavior of humans toward technical systems).

Structure

The weekly lecture will be accompanied by weekly tutorial sessions. We will provide a (work in progress) script as a useful source of reference, containing also further background information and providing a deeper knowledge of the topics discussed in the lecture. There will be assignments, more or less on a weekly basis. At the end, we will test you in an exam. Furthermore, we will send around news and findings from the web related to computer ethics.

Presuppositions

Even though this is an Advanced Course, we expect hardly any previous knowledge, except for basic knowledge about propositional and first-order logic. What nevertheless is a vital precondition, is an open mind and an interest to look at computer science in a way you are not used to.
The lecture and all its materials obviously are in English, but if you feel more comfortable to write assignments and exams in German, you are invited to do so.


This lecture is made possible by support from the Excellence Cluster MMCI and the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science. It takes place annually in the summer term.



If you encounter technical problems, please contact the administrators