Friday, Mar 23 2018

How Top Universities are Teaching Ethics in Tech

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As technology becomes more ingrained in the daily life of nearly every American, universities are working to take on issues surrounding the ethical ramifications of the increased use of tech. While many recent developments in the sector, like AI and autonomous vehicles, have a lot of potential for good, there are also risks associated with the technology that need to be considered.


If you are wondering how some of the top universities are teaching ethics in tech, and why they are taking it on, here’s what you need to know.


Why Focus on Ethics?

The technology industry has frequently become the focus of ethical challenges. Companies like Uber and Google have faced criticism about their culture, and Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms were drawn into the debate for their possible roles in spreading questionable material during the last presidential election.


Ultimately, technology is impacting the lives of the masses, and improper handling of certain issues in these realms negatively affects the country and even the world. Since tech is only likely to become a larger part of daily life, both inside and out of the office, the creation of classes designed to discuss and address these problems is timely.



What are Top Universities Teaching?

While the full scope of what is, or will be, offered is growing, many of the classes focus on key issues facing the tech industry and people working in IT roles. For example, MIT and Harvard are jointly offering a course titled “The Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence,” predominately focusing on the possible ramifications of AI and machine learning.


The University of Texas at Austin has just begun offering a class called “Ethical Foundations of Computer Science,” and intends to make it a requirement for computer science majors in the future. Cornell has a course focused on data science and ethics while Stanford is developing a class on general computer science-related ethics that they plan to make available next year.


The ultimate goal is to introduce concepts of ethics and morality to students who will soon be working in burgeoning fields associated with computer science and tech. With technologies like autonomous vehicles and weapons, both of which have the significant capacity to harm or even kill, preparing to be released to the market, being equipped to teach critical points about ethics is being considered a must.


Additionally, many up and coming technologies could fundamentally change how society works, and the implications of such changes are potentially vast.


While it’s hard to predict exactly what technologies will become available over the next three, five, or ten years, teaching ethics at a foundational level will help those working in the field to consider the broader implications of their activities, hopefully preventing potential issues before they occur.


If you are interested in learning more about ethics in tech, the knowledgeable professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled team members today.