Ethics for Nerds Kevin Baum, Sarah Sterz, Holger Hermanns

News

05.10.2022

Re-Exam Results

The results for the re-exam are now online on your personal status pages. If you klick on “(table)”, you can also see the grade scale table.

As already announced, the exam inspection will be in E1.3, room 528 on Friday at 12:00.

Best wishes,
Your Ethics for... Read more

The results for the re-exam are now online on your personal status pages. If you klick on “(table)”, you can also see the grade scale table.

As already announced, the exam inspection will be in E1.3, room 528 on Friday at 12:00.

Best wishes,
Your Ethics for Nerds team

28.09.2022

Re-Exam Inspection

The exam inspection will take place on Friday, October 7, 12-14 in E1 3, room 528. (The room has limited capacity, so please come in time.) This and all other important dates can also be found in the calendar.

Best wishes,
Your Ethics for Nerds team

26.09.2022

Re-Exam

The re-exam will take place on October 4th, 10:00–12:00 in the Günter-Hotz-Hörsaal (GHH) in E2 2.

Please make sure

  • !--[if !supportLists]--!--[endif]--to register in the LSF (the deadline for that probably is today) and
  • !--[if... Read more

The re-exam will take place on October 4th, 10:00–12:00 in the Günter-Hotz-Hörsaal (GHH) in E2 2.

Please make sure

  • to register in the LSF (the deadline for that probably is today) and
  • to register in the dcms on your personal status page (the deadline for that is Friday).

The same rules apply to the re-exam as to the exam before: you have to bring a face mask and wear it as required during the exam, and you are allowed to bring a cheat sheet in DIN A4, on which you are allowed to write on both sides.

There will be an online office hour on Thursday, September 29, at 10:00. And we will have a short, additional office hour for last-minute questions on Monday, October 3, at 14:00.

If you have any more questions, please get in touch with Sarah.

22.08.2022

Exam Inspection

The exam inspection is now in E1.3, room 511.2 (fifth floor).

12.08.2022

Exam Inspection

The exam inspection will take place on August 22, 10-12. The place will be announced in time. If you want to take part, please register for the exam inspection until Wednesday, August 17 on your personal status page.

In case that you find this handy: you can... Read more

The exam inspection will take place on August 22, 10-12. The place will be announced in time. If you want to take part, please register for the exam inspection until Wednesday, August 17 on your personal status page.

In case that you find this handy: you can already see the grade scale on your personal status page along with the number of points that you scored in each of the exercises.

Best wishes
Your Ethics for Nerds team

08.08.2022

Exam tomorrow at 10:00 in G√ľnther-Hotz lecture Hall E2.2

Hello everybody!
The first Ethics for Nerds exam of the summer semester 2022 will take place tomorrow, August 9, 2022. The exam starts in the Günther-Hotz lecture hall (E2.2) at 10:00 sharp and will take 120 minutes. Please bring a face mask for when we get... Read more

Hello everybody!
The first Ethics for Nerds exam of the summer semester 2022 will take place tomorrow, August 9, 2022. The exam starts in the Günther-Hotz lecture hall (E2.2) at 10:00 sharp and will take 120 minutes. Please bring a face mask for when we get close to you and check your IDs.

If you needed to register for the exam in the LSF, but did not do so in time, you are not allowed to attend the exam. Also, if you have Corona or are to suspect that you have Corona, you cannot come to the exam.

See you tomorrow!

27.07.2022

Term Papers graded / Exam Preparation / LSF Registration

Dear students,

We have some important announcements:

1. We uploaded the feedback for the term papers. Most of you passed. If you did not pass, we encourage you to participate in the lecture again next year!
If you passed, we invite you to check the feedback... Read more

Dear students,

We have some important announcements:

1. We uploaded the feedback for the term papers. Most of you passed. If you did not pass, we encourage you to participate in the lecture again next year!
If you passed, we invite you to check the feedback since it can help you prepare for the exam. If you have any open questions just reach out to Ursela or Sarah.
We will announce who earned a Bonus by the end of the week.

2. We uploaded a Mock Exam in the Materials Sections (category: “General”)

3. The additional office hours will be on August 4, 9:00 to 11:00 and August 8, 13:30 to 15:30 and take place online.

4. Please register in LSF if you wish to take the exam. (Or unregister if you do not want to take it any longer.) The status of your admission should now be displayed on your personal status page. If you believe something to be incorrect, please contact Ursela.

Best wishes,

Your Ethics for Nerds team

22.07.2022

Today's Office Hour Cancelled, but Additional Office Hours Upcoming

Dear students,

As mentioned in the lecture, today´s office hour will NOT take place. However, we will offer some additional office hours before the exam. We will announce the exact dates and times soon.

If you have any questions, please also make use of the... Read more

Dear students,

As mentioned in the lecture, today´s office hour will NOT take place. However, we will offer some additional office hours before the exam. We will announce the exact dates and times soon.

If you have any questions, please also make use of the forum. We will answer the posts as soon as possible and other students can benefit from the questions and answers as well.

Best wishes,

Your Ethics for Nerds team

11.07.2022

Today's Office Hour Cancelled

Due to unforeseen circumstances, today's office hour has to be cancelled on short notice. Sorry about that! If you planned to come, please come to one of the other office hours this week, or, if that’s not possible for you, write your question in the forum. The... Read more

Due to unforeseen circumstances, today's office hour has to be cancelled on short notice. Sorry about that! If you planned to come, please come to one of the other office hours this week, or, if that’s not possible for you, write your question in the forum. The other office hours this week will take place as usual.

Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for your understanding!

Best wishes,
Your Ethics for Nerds team

 

30.06.2022

Small Deadline Extension

Upon the tutors’ request, we extended the deadline for the essay. The new deadline is tomorrow (July 1), end of day. :)

Best wishes,
Your Ethics for Nerds team

27.06.2022

Online Evaluation

Dear students,

From today, 6/27 to 7/14, you will have the opportunity to digitally evaluate our course. Simply follow the link below and help us identify the weaknesses and strengths of Ethics for... Read more

Dear students,

From today, 6/27 to 7/14, you will have the opportunity to digitally evaluate our course. Simply follow the link below and help us identify the weaknesses and strengths of Ethics for Nerds:

https://qualis.uni-saarland.de/eva/?l=136353&p=237782

Note that there is a specific link for the office hours evaluation:

https://qualis.uni-saarland.de/eva/?l=1363531&p=911904

We look forward to your honest and valuable feedback!

See you soon — we'll finally have another lecture on Thursday!
Your Ethics for Nerds Team

P.S.: Please don't forget that the deadline for the term paper is approaching, Thursday, end of day!

15.06.2022

Feedback for Assignment 2

The results and the feedback for Assignment 2 is online now. You can see your grading and your feedback on your personal status page. We lowered the number of points you need to 7.5. So, if you have 7.5 points overall or more, you passed the assignments. If you have... Read more

The results and the feedback for Assignment 2 is online now. You can see your grading and your feedback on your personal status page. We lowered the number of points you need to 7.5. So, if you have 7.5 points overall or more, you passed the assignments. If you have any questions on your feedback, come to any of the office hours and we will answer to all of them.

We want to also give you a friendly reminder that admission is not over yet – you still need to write an essay, discuss with a tutor, and hand in discussion protocols (which have deadlines, too).

Best wishes,
Your Ethics for Nerds team

08.06.2022

Room Change and Server Downtime

(All gmail-servers have rejected this news as an email. If you did not get this information, this might be why.)

There are a two things that are important for you to know:

  1. Tomorrow’s lecture will be in HS002 in E1 3 instead of our normal lecture hall.... Read more

(All gmail-servers have rejected this news as an email. If you did not get this information, this might be why.)

There are a two things that are important for you to know:

  1. Tomorrow’s lecture will be in HS002 in E1 3 instead of our normal lecture hall. Because of this, the lecture might not be steamed live. It will be recorded as usual. (Expect the video to have relatively poor audio quality, though, since HS002 does not have all the fancy equipment that the GHH lecture hall has.)
  2. As you probably have noticed, the HIZ servers had problems which affected both the dcms and emails.
    • If you have uploaded your assignment already, double check on your Personal Status page whether it was really uploaded correctly.
    • If you contacted any of us via email within the last couple of days and we did not respond in a timely manner, your email probably got lost. Please re-send it and we will make sure to answer to your requests.

Best wishes,
Your Ethics for Nerds team :)

PS: You have requested to change the colour of the controls in the video player in our Nextcloud instance. Though this is technically possible, we nevertheless cannot do that for different reasons. Sorry for that! If the controls annoy you, you can download the videos and watch them in your favourite video player. There also is a link to a Youtube playlist in the Materials section that contains all PT videos.

02.06.2022

Discussions for Your Admission

This is a quick reminder that you need a discussion session with a tutor to get the exam admission. Almost none of you have made an appointment so far. To do that, contact Ursela. (If you click this link, you will get a pre-phrased email with all the necessary... Read more

This is a quick reminder that you need a discussion session with a tutor to get the exam admission. Almost none of you have made an appointment so far. To do that, contact Ursela. (If you click this link, you will get a pre-phrased email with all the necessary details.)

Please note:

  • Do not wait too long, otherwise we cannot make any guarantees for your favourite time slots. The faster you are done with your session, the better.
  • Discussion sessions need no preparation at all. If you manage to get a lively discussion, there is no way to fail the discussion session. You can either choose a topic yourself or you can let the tutor choose a topic for you.
  • It may happen that we have a discussion session with two groups at once if you are in relatively small groups.

So, get in contact with Ursela to make your discussion appointment soon.

Best wishes
Your Ethics for Nerds team

31.05.2022

Hands-On Session on Thursday

Our next lecture will be our third and last Hands-On Session. It will be on how to write a term paper and on the Precise Thinking part of the course. It is best if you have at least watched the videos from PT1 and PT2. It would be even better if you had already... Read more

Our next lecture will be our third and last Hands-On Session. It will be on how to write a term paper and on the Precise Thinking part of the course. It is best if you have at least watched the videos from PT1 and PT2. It would be even better if you had already watched the videos from PT5. However, if you have not watched any PT videos yet or you don't recall anymore what they are about, then don't worry. This Hands-On Session will even be useful if you come entirely unprepared, since a lot of the session will go into talking you through the term paper and answering your questions that come up in the process. The remainder of the session will be on content from PT2, but we will do a quick recap beforehand. So, even though the PT videos are crucial to the course, they won't be a requirement for the Hands-On Session.

See you on Thursday,
Your Ethics-for-Nerds team

28.05.2022

Feedback for Assignment 1

You can now see your points and the feedback for assignment 1 on your personal status page.

Have a nice weekend!
Your Ethics for Nerds team

23.05.2022

Public Holiday on Thursday

This week is a bit special since we have a public holiday coming up. The following things will be different this week:

!--[if !supportLists]--1.       !--[endif]--The Office Hours today and tomorrow will be online instead of in-person as usual.

!--[if... Read more

This week is a bit special since we have a public holiday coming up. The following things will be different this week:

1.       The Office Hours today and tomorrow will be online instead of in-person as usual.

2.       The lecture will be substituted by some videos about privacy that you can watch sometime during the week. So, there will be no lecture on Thursday. The videos are online already for you to watch.
Since these videos are already two years old, we want to point you to two more recent topics. If you want to, you can (voluntarily) have a look at the following links:

a.       https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/04/eu-digital-markets-acts-interoperability-rule-addresses-important-need-raises

b.       https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7dw8x/san-francisco-police-are-using-driverless-cars-as-mobile-surveillance-cameras

Best wishes,
Your Ethics-for-Nerds team

19.05.2022

Tonight's Talk

We wanted to remind you that tonight is the talk by Moritz Hardt (at 6:15 pm in the Günter Hotz Lecture Hall, E2 2) that we invite you to attend. His research is both interesting and very relevant to Ethics for Nerds. Also, this talk will be relevant for the exam,... Read more

We wanted to remind you that tonight is the talk by Moritz Hardt (at 6:15 pm in the Günter Hotz Lecture Hall, E2 2) that we invite you to attend. His research is both interesting and very relevant to Ethics for Nerds. Also, this talk will be relevant for the exam, so we recommend to attend it, preferably in person such that you can ask Moritz Hardt questions. Even though the talk is also recorded, a recoding will (obviously) not give you this opportunity. If you cannot attend in person, you can also watch a live stream here.

We hope to see many of you tonight! :)

Best wishes,
Your Ethics-for-Nerds team

09.05.2022

Important Assignment Update (+ Livestreams)

1. Someone pointed out that one piece of information was missing in the case description in the assignment. Thanks for letting us know! We uploaded a new version that contains the additional sentence “Juan knows all of the above and is justified in his... Read more

1. Someone pointed out that one piece of information was missing in the case description in the assignment. Thanks for letting us know! We uploaded a new version that contains the additional sentence “Juan knows all of the above and is justified in his expectations.” Please take that into account!

If you already completed the assignment, you will not have to redo it, though. Just email your solutions to Ursela to let us know such that we can correct your assignment properly.

 

2. Also, we wanted to let you know that the lectures will not only be recorded and uploaded but will also usually be streamed live in MS Teams. Unfortunately, online interaction during the lecture is limited as we often will not be able to keep an eye on the chat while giving a lecture. There are still plenty of office hours you can come to, though, if you have any questions!

 

Best wishes,
The Ethics-for-Nerds team

23.04.2022

Group Finding is Over

The grouping phase is over now. Thanks for entering your groups in the dcms! :)

If you have a group but missed the deadline for entering it, you still have time to do that until Monday evening.

If you have not found a group yet but still need one, you can... Read more

The grouping phase is over now. Thanks for entering your groups in the dcms! :)

If you have a group but missed the deadline for entering it, you still have time to do that until Monday evening.

If you have not found a group yet but still need one, you can write an email to Ursela until Monday evening. We will then try to find a group for you. Remember: you need a group to get the exam admission.

Best wishes
Your Ethics-for-Nerds Team

14.04.2022

First Lecture and Todos

The lecture materials for this week are online now. There are three important things you need to do now:

1. Watch the lecture if you were not present. You can find it on the Materials page. (If you want to, you can skip the part where the poll starts. Instead,... Read more

The lecture materials for this week are online now. There are three important things you need to do now:

1. Watch the lecture if you were not present. You can find it on the Materials page. (If you want to, you can skip the part where the poll starts. Instead, just look at the slides and make up your own mind on the questions posed there.)

2. Form a team if you have not already done so and enter this team in the dcms. If you want more information on this, check the Course Information page. Utilize the forum for finding team members. The deadline for group completion is April 22. Remember: you need a discussion group if you want to get the exam admission! If you have trouble finding a team, write us an email.

3. Prepare for the Hands-On Session next week by watching the videos that are linked on the Materials page.

If you have any questions or encounter any problems, please get in touch! Also, make sure to check out the page on Course Information.

Best wishes,
Your Ethics for Nerds team

 

Show all
 

Ethics for Nerds

We will have a hybrid lecture this year.
Time: Thursday, 8:30 to 10:00 
Place: Günter-Hotz-Hörsaal (E2 2)
The whole course can be taken online, as we will upload recordings of the lecture in a timely manner. 
(The lecture will not be streamed, though.)

Many computer scientists will be confronted with morally difficult situations at some point in their career – be it in research, in business, or in industry. Ethics for Nerds equips you with the crucial assets enabling you to recognize such situations, and to devise ways to arrive at a justified moral judgment regarding the question of what you are permitted to do and what you should better not do. For that, you will be made familiar with moral theories from philosophy, as well as different Codes of Ethics for computer scientists. Since one can quickly get lost when talking about ethics and morals, it is especially important to talk and argue clearly and precisely. In order to prepare you for that, Ethics for Nerds trains your formal and informal argumentation skills enabling you to argue beyond the level of everyday discussions at bars and parties. In the end, you will be able to assess a morally controversial topic from computer science on your own and give a convincing argument for your assessment.

Ethics for Nerds is intended to always be as clear, precise, and analytic as possible. What you won't find here is the meaningless bla-bla, needlessly poetic language, and vague and wordy profundity that some people tend to associate with philosophy. You will, however, get many interesting insights into philosophy, ethics, and computer science – or so we have been told.

This course is a Vertiefungsvorlesung and worth 6 ECTS-points. All bachelor and master students are welcome!

 

 

Contents

This course covers:

  • an introduction to the methods of philosophy, argumentation theory, and the basics of normative as well as applied ethics;
  • relevant moral codices issued by professional associations like the ACM, the IEEE, and more;
  • starting points to evaluate practices and technologies already in use or not that far away, including for instance: filter bubbles and 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 and so on;
  • an outlook on more futuristic topics like machine ethics, roboethics, and superintelligences;
  • and more.

Presuppositions

We expect basic knowledge of propositional and first-order logic, an open mind, and interest to look at computer science in ways you probably are not used to.

The lecture and all its materials are in English, but if you feel more comfortable to write assignments and exams in German, you are invited to do so. For this course you should at least have a level of either German or English that is equivalent to a C1 level (see here for further details). We do not need any formal proof that you fulfil the requirements, but we recommend taking them seriously. If you are in any doubt whether this course is suitable for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Organization

Ethics for Nerds will take place in a hybrid format. You are encouraged to come to the in-person lectures, but you can also choose to watch recordings of these lectures at home. There are no fixed tutorials but there are plenty of office hours to get in touch with us, you will have to do some group work, and we will have special Hands-on Sessions instead of lectures from time to time.

In order to get the exam admission, you will have to pass two assignments, write a term paper and discuss with your team mates and a tutor. The grade is determined by an exam (or a re-exam -- the better mark counts) and you can get a bonus for an especially good term paper.

More detailed information is given in the first lecture.

Literature (not mandatory)

Upon request, we added some literature that may be interesting to read before the course. Reading this, however, is not mandatory! We will cover everything that you will need to know during the course (except for the presuppositions above). You will not have a disadvantage if you do not read any of the literature that follows:

  1. Moor, J. H. (1985). What is computer ethics?. Metaphilosophy, 16(4), 266-275.
    A rather old paper that is nevertheless still very relevant today. Available here.
  2. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    This is the wikipedia of philosophy. Many (though not all) of the articles there are high-quality. Among others, the following articles are relevant for Ethics for Nerds and are relatively easy to understand without a philosophical background:
  3. Another resourse of material can be the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, in particular the following articles:
  4. Rosenberg, J. F. (1984). The practice of philosophy: A handbook for beginners.
    If you are very much into philosophy, you can also dive a little deeper into the daily business of philosophers by having a look at this all-time-classic introduction to being a philosopher. Sadly, the English edition of this book is usually very expensive, but you will find the book in the SULB and in the philosophy library. The German translation is equally good as the English original.


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