Ethics for Nerds Kevin Baum, Holger Hermanns

News

18.10.2018

Extended Inspection

As there are even more problems with the busses today, we extended the inspection until 11:15.
 

18.10.2018

Reminder: Exam Inspection

The inspection for the re-exam takes place now in room 009 in A2.3 until 9:55.

16.10.2018

Re-Exam Inspection + Results (now with room)

The inspection for the re-exam will take place in room 009 in A2.3 on Thursday, 18th October from 8:30 to 9:55. As last time, you will also be able to discuss questions concerning your re-essays. If you want to inspect your exam, but cannot come on Thursday for a... Read more

The inspection for the re-exam will take place in room 009 in A2.3 on Thursday, 18th October from 8:30 to 9:55. As last time, you will also be able to discuss questions concerning your re-essays. If you want to inspect your exam, but cannot come on Thursday for a good reason (e.g. illness or another lecture), please email us ahead of time such that we can try to find another solution for you.

Also, please note that the results for your re-essays in now online for all of you.

28.09.2018

Extended Registration for Re-exam

There seem to be quite a few of you who want to participate in the re-exam on Monday, but did not yet register. If you are among those people, please do so today via the dcms (the regular registration was extrended until today at 23:59) such that we can print the... Read more

There seem to be quite a few of you who want to participate in the re-exam on Monday, but did not yet register. If you are among those people, please do so today via the dcms (the regular registration was extrended until today at 23:59) such that we can print the right amount of exams.

Good luck with the re-exam and the re-essay!

20.09.2018

Re-exam registration

You can now register for the re-exam. If you want to participate, please do so until September 27. Also, please do not forget to register in the lsf, if you need to register in the lsf. You can do so until one week before the exam.
11.09.2018

Office Hours (now with places)

To answer questions you have related to the re-essay, we will offer two office hours:

Tuesday, 25.09., 16.00 - 18.00 (E1 1, room 407) and
Thursday, 27.09., 16.00 - 18.00 (E1 3, HS003)

04.09.2018

Exam Inspection

The exam inspection will, as announced, takes place tomorrow (September 5th) from 8:30. The place will be: A2.3, room 0.09. You will be able to both see and discuss your exam and discuss your essay. As this is about double as much as in a normal exam inspection, you... Read more

The exam inspection will, as announced, takes place tomorrow (September 5th) from 8:30. The place will be: A2.3, room 0.09. You will be able to both see and discuss your exam and discuss your essay. As this is about double as much as in a normal exam inspection, you may have longer waiting times than usual, even through we will try to process everybody as quick as possible.

17.08.2018

Exam and Essay Inspection

The exam inspection will take place on September 5th, from 8:30 am to 10 am. We will announce the place in time. You will be able to inspect your exam and discuss open questions regarding the correction of the essay. Please note that the answer to questions of the... Read more
The exam inspection will take place on September 5th, from 8:30 am to 10 am. We will announce the place in time. You will be able to inspect your exam and discuss open questions regarding the correction of the essay. Please note that the answer to questions of the type "Why was X not marked as a mistake during the correction of the draft, but is now marked as a mistake in the final version?" will most likely be one of the following: either there were too many other, more important issues you needed to work on and your tutor did not notice X or decided to omit X and concentrate on something else or the exercise explicitly stated that you should not do X and the tutor assumed that you only did X because you handed in a draft. Some of you already wrote us that they cannot attend the exam inspection on that date. We do not yet have a solution for those of you, but we will announce if there will we another possibility to inspect your exams in time. Enjoy your summer holidays! Best, the Ethics for Nerds-team
10.08.2018

Misc

Please note the following:

  1. You can now see the feedback and points for your essay as well as the overall grade you achieved so far. You can still improve your mark by participating in the re-exam and the re-essay.
  2. The date for the exam inspection will be... Read more

Please note the following:

  1. You can now see the feedback and points for your essay as well as the overall grade you achieved so far. You can still improve your mark by participating in the re-exam and the re-essay.
  2. The date for the exam inspection will be announced later. It will take place in the first week of September.
  3. The topics for the re-essay were just released. You can find the document with all relevant information in the dcms as usual.
  4. The team will be on holiday until late August. We will therefore be not be as responsive as usual. If you feel that you have a very urgent question that cannot wait, write an email to Sarah. She will check her emails regularly.
08.08.2018

Exam Results

You can now see the exam results in the dcms. (As a reminder: There were 90 points plus 10 additional bonus points in the exam.)
You will get your mark as well as the essay results in the next few days.
 

18.07.2018

Evaluation Results Online

You can find the evalutation results in Materials.

We whole team thanks you for this evaluation and for your participation in the course!
 

17.07.2018

Feedback: Draft (Late Deadline)

You can now access the feedback for your drafts, if you used the late deadline.

13.07.2018

Feedback: Draft (Regular Deadline)

You can now see the feedback for the draft from the regular deadline.

13.07.2018

Nerd Night II - Place and Date

The Nerd Night in which you can work on your assignments will take place on Wednesday, 18th July. We will again meet in room 407 in E1.1 at 6:15 pm.

11.07.2018

Nerd Night II - Doodle

As announces, we will have another Nerd Night. You will be able to ask more questions and work on your essays. The event will have an open ending and you are basically allowed to stay as long as you want to.

To fix the date, please fill in this doodle until... Read more

As announces, we will have another Nerd Night. You will be able to ask more questions and work on your essays. The event will have an open ending and you are basically allowed to stay as long as you want to.

To fix the date, please fill in this doodle until tomorrow (12th July, 12pm):

https://doodle.com/poll/6prbqdr7q3a8k26t

03.07.2018

Essay: Draft (voluntary) + Additional and Conditional Deadline

You can hand in a voluntary draft soon. Your draft can contain any piece of your essay you already finished or for which you have a comprehensible sketch. We will give you feedback on the most important aspects of it. However, you should not expect the correction to... Read more

You can hand in a voluntary draft soon. Your draft can contain any piece of your essay you already finished or for which you have a comprehensible sketch. We will give you feedback on the most important aspects of it. However, you should not expect the correction to be comprehensive, as we will not mark every little detail.

 

We had some people who did not attend the tutorial, but still want to have more feedback for their voluntary argument.

We will proceed as follows: In addition to the deadline for a voluntary draft on 6th July, we will have a second deadline on 10th July, exclusively for people who handed in an argument before. If you hand in their draft on the 10th will have the possibility to discuss their argument again in the tutorial, however we can only guarantee to give you feedback until 19th July.


Deadline 6th July:

  • open for everybody
  • guaranteed feedback until 15th July

Deadline 10th July:

  • open only for those who handed in an argument before
  • guaranteed feedback until 19th July
  • gives you the possibility to discuss your argument again in the tutorial
28.06.2018

For the Avoidance of Doubt: Essay has to Contain Tabular Argument

Please note again that the final version of your essay has to contain a tabular argument for your main claim! It can in addition, if you think that your essay would overall benefit from it, contain the same argument in a textual form or a logical form.

If you... Read more

Please note again that the final version of your essay has to contain a tabular argument for your main claim! It can in addition, if you think that your essay would overall benefit from it, contain the same argument in a textual form or a logical form.

If you have any questions regarding the essay, come to the tutorials, write us an email or use the forum. We will be happy to answer your questions!

23.06.2018

Essay: Argument (voluntary)

We want to quickly remind you that the next voluntary deadline for the essay is approaching: You can hand in a first version of your tabular argument for the essay by 27th June. We will mainly check it for validity and prima facie plausibility and will give it back... Read more

We want to quickly remind you that the next voluntary deadline for the essay is approaching: You can hand in a first version of your tabular argument for the essay by 27th June. We will mainly check it for validity and prima facie plausibility and will give it back to you with some annotations.

If you want to hand in an argument, send us at least your tabular argument as a pdf via the dcms. You can also include a logical form and, if you have very controverse premises, a short piece of soundness reasoning.

This submission will not be taken into account when it comes to grading. We will only grade your final essay.

23.06.2018

News #4

Again, some news for you:

  1. The EU voted for its new copy right law.
  2. An AI from IBM can beat humans in a debate.
  3. Just for fun: Another AI tries to predict the world cup winner
  4. For the German speakers among you: logbuch-netzpolitik.de is always worth a visit
18.06.2018

Essay Task

Please note (if you did not notice already from the assignment or the lecture) that the exercise for the essay is online (Materials --> General) and that the deadline for selecting your topic is the 20th June (or the 19th if you want to write about an own topic).
09.06.2018

Reminder: Talk on Monday

On Monday we will have a talk by Markus Langer about the role of digital methods and algorithms in context of hiring. It will start at 10:30 and takes place in the usual lecture hall.

Note that there will be no extra tutorial exercises due to the talk.
 

09.06.2018

News #3

We have a few interesting pieces of news for you:

  1. Facebook wants to start news shows with CNN, ABC and Fox News, article by NBC News
    (For the German speakers among you: http://spon.de/affl9)
  2. Google set themselves objectives for AI applications, Google’s... Read more

We have a few interesting pieces of news for you:

  1. Facebook wants to start news shows with CNN, ABC and Fox News, article by NBC News
    (For the German speakers among you: http://spon.de/affl9)
  2. Google set themselves objectives for AI applications, Google’s blog post
  3. Facebook gave data access to Chinese firm flagged by U.S. intelligence, article from the New York Times
  4. The new AI council in Singapore discusses the legal and ethical issues that go with data use and artificial intelligence, article by cnet
  5. The Forbes about explainability and understandability
  6. And finally, not news, but about news: a 5-minute online game
05.06.2018

Nerd Night - Room

Our Nerd Night will take place in E1.1, room 407 on 6th June at 6:15 pm. We will have a look at arguments again and there will be free pizza!

29.05.2018

Nerd Night - Date

Our Nerd Night will take place on Wednesday, 6th June. We will start at 6:15 and there will be free pizza for everyone. The room will be announced in time.

If you wanted to come, but cannot make it on Wednesday, we encourage you to come to the tutorials and aks... Read more

Our Nerd Night will take place on Wednesday, 6th June. We will start at 6:15 and there will be free pizza for everyone. The room will be announced in time.

If you wanted to come, but cannot make it on Wednesday, we encourage you to come to the tutorials and aks the tutors to provide you with one-on-one help. They will be happy to help you with your arguements.
 

26.05.2018

Nerd Night - Doodle

As announced in the lecture, we will have a Nerd Night about arguments soon. Please fill in the following doodle to find a date:

https://doodle.com/poll/qgstp7rn76gimg4g

Nerd Nights are informal tutorials, where you can discuss with your fellow students and... Read more

As announced in the lecture, we will have a Nerd Night about arguments soon. Please fill in the following doodle to find a date:

https://doodle.com/poll/qgstp7rn76gimg4g

Nerd Nights are informal tutorials, where you can discuss with your fellow students and the Ethics for Nerds team. You will be able to get some additional training in argumentation: we will guide you on writing a truely sound (i.e. also valid!) argument. And it is also likely that there will be free pizza (though we cannot promise that already). The event will have an open ending, but you can leave any time you want to.

We will announce the time and place in time.

22.05.2018

News #2

We talked about manipulation last week. The following article relates very well:

Fake Obama warning about deepfake: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godzooks/2018/05/deep-fake-obama-video-yikes/

15.05.2018

Clarification: Handing in Assignments as a Group

If you are part of a group, but another group member uploads your assignment, the following holds: you only have hand in a txt, if you want to access the corrected pdf, too. If you do not hand in a txt, you will get the points (as long as your name is on the pdf),... Read more

If you are part of a group, but another group member uploads your assignment, the following holds: you only have hand in a txt, if you want to access the corrected pdf, too. If you do not hand in a txt, you will get the points (as long as your name is on the pdf), but the pdf with corrections will not be available to you in the dcms. The one who uploads the submission will always get the pdf.

15.05.2018

News #1

As we have entered the second block, we will irregularly send you links and news that are connected to the content of the lecture. However, our selection neither indicates that we subscribe to the content of the linked articles or talks, nor that the content is... Read more

As we have entered the second block, we will irregularly send you links and news that are connected to the content of the lecture. However, our selection neither indicates that we subscribe to the content of the linked articles or talks, nor that the content is relevant for the exam. These links are just meant to stress the topicality of what we do and enable you to find further material more easily – and also we think that they are interesting.

We will start with a few things related to our last lecture.

Here is Eli Pariser’s TED talk about filter bubbles:
https://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles

Filter algorithms are becoming more and more sophisticated, as Google’s new plans show: http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/08/technology/google-news-artificial-intelligence/index.html

Whether AI can help to solve the problems that is has partly constituted, is questionable, though not impossible:
https://www.wired.com/story/how-artificial-intelligence-canand-cantfix-facebook/

04.05.2018

Mini-Lecture During the Tutorial

On Monday, we will have a small lecture in the tutorial. We will cover the following topics:

  • how to handle clashing arguments (that is what we skipped in the last lecture)
  • how to write an argument

The lecture will be held twice, such that everyone can... Read more

On Monday, we will have a small lecture in the tutorial. We will cover the following topics:

  • how to handle clashing arguments (that is what we skipped in the last lecture)
  • how to write an argument

The lecture will be held twice, such that everyone can attend it: once starting at 8:45 and a second time at 10:45. Both lectures will cover the exact same content, so it suffices if you attend it only once. If you cannot make it, or if you do not like to attend it, you will find the slides online after the tutorial. Moreover, there are sections in the script about the content we will cover ("How to Handle Argument Clashes" in Arguments and Reasoning 101 and "A Tutor's Advice: How to Write Valid Arguments" in the Appendix). You will be able to choose whether you want to attend the lecture or whether you want to solve your assignments with the help of the tutors as usual. Note, however, that the lecture will be a substitute for the presence exercises and that there, thus, will not be a presence sheet this time.

30.04.2018

Clarification: Assignment 3, Issue 1b)

There was some confusion about the exercise 1b) on assignment 3. Note, that a possible problem concerned with the termination of the program and a possible problem concerned with the feasible runtime count as two separate problems. You do not have to give any... Read more

There was some confusion about the exercise 1b) on assignment 3. Note, that a possible problem concerned with the termination of the program and a possible problem concerned with the feasible runtime count as two separate problems. You do not have to give any mistakes in the algorithm itself.

14.04.2018

First Assignment and Group Workings

Friendly reminder: Please do not forget the current assignment. The assignments are published right when the lecture ends, which is also the case for the first assignment. You can find it in the section "Materials".

Please submit your assignment on your personal... Read more

Friendly reminder: Please do not forget the current assignment. The assignments are published right when the lecture ends, which is also the case for the first assignment. You can find it in the section "Materials".

Please submit your assignment on your personal page. If you hand in as a group, one group member should upload the pdf file with your solutions, while all other group members are to upload a txt file that contains the name of the group member who uploaded the actual pdf. Please note that the pdf has to contain the names of all group members. If someone's name is missing in the pdf, this group member cannot be awarded any points for this assignment.

12.04.2018

Improving Your Mark From a Previous Iteration

We had some requests if it is possible to participate in the course again in order to improve your mark from a former iteration. If you are a master student in computer science and the Prüfungsordnung from 2015 applies to you and you already passed, you cannot... Read more

We had some requests if it is possible to participate in the course again in order to improve your mark from a former iteration. If you are a master student in computer science and the Prüfungsordnung from 2015 applies to you and you already passed, you cannot improve your mark from a previous iteration. If you have not yet passed the course, you can take the course again.

Nevertheless, please check with your Prüfungssekretariat, if you are in any doubt that the Prüfungsordnung from 2015 applies or if you have other concerns whether or not you can get credit points and/or a mark from this course!


In the following, you can find the relevant passages (German only):


§ 5 Abs. 7 der Studienordnung für den Master-Studiengang Informatik (geändert am 12. September 2016)
"(7) Eine bestandene Prüfungsleistung der Stammvorlesungen kann in der Regelstudienzeit einmalig zur Notenverbesserung im gleichen Prüfungszeitraum (vgl. § 13 Abs. 4 der Prüfungsordnung) wiederholt werden. Bestandene Prüfungsleistungen der Vertiefungsvorlesungen können einmalig zur Notenverbesserung im gleichen Prüfungszeitraum wiederholt werden, falls der Dozent zu Beginn der Veranstaltung die jeweilige Prüfungsleistung als verbesserbar ausweist. Dabei zählt das bessere Ergebnis. Ansonsten ist die Wiederholung einer bestandenen Prüfungsleistung nicht zulässig."

 
§ 13 Abs. 4 der Prüfungsordnung  
"(4) Jedes Modul bzw. Modulelement hat einen Prüfungszeitraum. Für eine Veranstaltung im Wintersemester ist dies in der Regel die Zeit vom Semesterbeginn d.h. 1.10. bis zum 14.05. und für eine Veranstaltung im Sommersemester in der Regel die Zeit vom Semesterbeginn d.h. 1.4. bis zum 14.11. Davon abweichende Regelungen sind zu Beginn der Veranstaltung bekannt zu geben. Der Prüfungszeitraum eines Moduls aus mehreren zeitlich getrennten Modulelementen ist in der Regel der Prüfungszeitraum des zuletzt absolvierten Modulelements."
 
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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 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 tools, GPS-tracking, CCTV and other tools from surveillance, fitness trackers, big data analysis, autonomous vehicles, lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) and so on;
  • 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. Furthermore, we will send around news and findings from the web related to computer ethics. At the end, we will test you in an exam and you will have to write an essay if you gained the admission.

Tutorials

A tutorial is offered on Mondays from 8:30 to 12:00. You can drop by at any time and stay as long as you want. More information on the tutorials will be made available during the first lecture. If you plan to attend the tutorials, but think that you cannot make it in these two slots, please contact Sarah Sterz.

Admission

To be admitted to the exam and the essay, you have to reach at least 100 points during the semester. You can reach:

  • 150 points from assignments (10 assignments for 15 points each)
  • 50 points from attending the tutorials (10 out of 14 weeks for 5 points each, i.e. not more than 50 points in total)

This means you have to earn 2/3 of the overall achievable points from the weekly assignments if you never attend a tutorial and only 1/3 of the points from the assignments, if you attend 10 tutorials. To achive the points for a tutorial, you need to attended the tutorial for at least 1,5 hours.

Grading

The final grade is made up of 75% from the exam and 25% from the essay. If the re-exam or re-essay marks are better than the exam or essay marks, resprectively, the better mark counts. To pass the course you need to achive 50% or more overall.

It is possible to get a bonus of 0.3, if you write an excellent essay.

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. Nevertheless, for this course you should have a level of at least B2 in either German or English (see here for further details).


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.



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