upcoming conferences pt. 2

HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) | July 22–24 |NYC

Title: “Teaching Computer Ethics in the Age of Computer Politics”

Abstract: This talk draws on Dr. Stamm’s work as a professor of computer ethics. At the outset, she provides an overview of the field of computer ethics which emphasizes that the field has generally avoided political framings in favor of an (allegedly) unbiased approach. Nevertheless, conversations with students almost invariably turn to the political and economic contexts of modern technological challenges. She argues that an apolitical approach is no longer viable, as the technologies attending contemporary developments (e.g. crypto/Web3, smart urban infrastructure, cyber warfare) are nothing if not polarizing, and students’ inclination to connect hypothetical exercises with extant political concerns should be supported rather than discouraged. From there, she offers strategies for highlighting the political discourse that surrounds current debates without appearing to favor certain agendas. She also considers a more nuanced issue: contra the traditional perspective of computer ethics, many scholars argue that the framing of technology as political neutral in fact accommodates particular viewpoints (in particular, those associated with free market and right-wing ideologies). This position has critical implications for computer ethics, as it calls into question the very premises of the field. She suggests that there is still no practical advantage in subordinating computer ethics to political science. Instead, instructors should integrate ethical and political paradigms, and allow students to decide for themselves if the former reduces to the latter.

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