(Formerly CS009-1 )

Computers and Human Values

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Offered This Year?  No
When Offered? Once or Twice


Technological innovation can transform not only the lives and practices of individuals and societies, but also the accepted language for thinking about them. We read contemporary works motivated by recent developments in computer science (e.g. robotics, networks and computer security) and find that these works raise fundamental questions about the future of computing and the future of human beings and societies as well. We juxtapose the contemporary visions with texts written in times different from our own that raise (and answer) the same questions about humanity, politics and ethics in different ways. The goal is to ground the philosophical and social issues raised by contemporary computer science in the traditions in which those issues were discussed before the advent of computers, and to encourage students to construct their own philosophies about the relationship between technology and values. No prerequisites.