CSE 190B: Social and Ethical Issues in Information
Technology - Winter 2001
Assignments will normally be posted by Wednesday, due the next Tuesday;
you should check this page, the class homepage, the class notes. and the class
homework page frequently for updates.
- Due 16 January:
- Section 1, Section 2, and Section 3 of the course notes.
- Webpage on
Technological Determinism UK Technology Education Centre. You may also
enjoy browsing some of the other related material on this site.
- Lecture Notes
on Technological Determinism, by Daniel Chandler, of the University
of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK.
- Due 23 January:
- Section 4 of the course notes, and re-read Section 3.
- Effects of Technology on Family and
Community, by J.A. English-Lueck; a report on a study of the effects
of technology on family life in Silicon Valley. Also read the followup report from November 2000.
- Two news reports on the crash of EgyptAir flight 990, one on the American investigation and the other on Egyptian reactions.
- Social Issues in Requirements
Engineering, from Proceedings, Requirements Engineering '93,
edited by Stephen Fickas and Anthony Finkelstein, IEEE Computer Society,
1993, pages 194-195. A brief classification and enumeration of some of the
social issues that arise in requirements engineering.
- Notes on Narrative.
- Due 30 January:
- Section 5 of the course notes, and re-read Section 4 (it has changed a bit).
- "The seductive equation of technological progress with social progress,"
by Rob Kling, in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp.
- "B of A's plans for computer don't add up," by Douglas Frantz, in
Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 161-169.
- The UCSD Policy
on Integrity of Scholarship (from the "Academic Regularions" part of the
UCSD General Catalog - you will have to scroll down to find the
relevant section), and the official (at least, as of 1972) UCSD policy on
plagarism, Sources: Their Use and
- A course handout on student cheating by
Prof. Scott Baden, an email from Gary Gillespie to
CSE faculty, describing what he says to students in his classes about
cheating, and a related email from Scott Baden that
gives a faculty point of view.
- Due 6 February:
- Re-read Section 5 of the course notes (it is a bit
tricky, and it has changed a lot!).
- "Information and computer scientists as moral philosophers and social
analysts," by Rob Kling, in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob
Kling, pp. 32-38.
- "Confronting ethical issues of systems design in a web of social
relationships," by Ina Wagner, in Computerization and Controversy,
ed. Rob Kling, pp. 889-902.
- "Power in systems design," by Bo Dahlbom and Lars Mathiassen, in
Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 903-906.
- "Codes of professional ethics," by Ronald Anderson, Deborah Johnson et
al., in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 876-877.
- The ACM Code of
Ethics; also in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob
Kling, pp. 878-888.
- Due 13 February:
- Course notes, Section 6, on social theories of
technology and science; also review Section 5 - there
is some new material.
- "Computers as tools and social systems: the car-computer analogy," by Rob
Kling, in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 16-21.
- "Articulation work," by Lucy Suchman, in Computerization and
Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 407-423.
- How things (actor-net)work:
Classification, magic and the ubiquity of standards, by Geoffrey
Bowker and Susan Leigh Star. Although this paper may be difficult for many
of you, it is very interesting and very relevant; you should read it at least
twice; you will need some help with the actor-network theory, which is
covered in the Section 6.1 of the class notes, and
the paper Traduction /
Trahison - Notes on ANT by John Law, which will be required reading
later, may also help.
- Due 20 February:
- In grading the midterm, I was a bit shocked to
discover that many of you still do not understand that technological
determinism is a false theory, so that there can never be
any real world examples of it, although there can be false assertions and
false explanations that appeal to it. Please read Section 2.1 as many times as you need to in order to
thoroughly understand that important point.
Many of you also did not understand the "say-do" problem, so please re-read
the first paragraph of Section 6 as many times as you
need to in order to fully understand this important concept.
Finally, many of you do not understand how values are attached to the links
of an actor-network, so please re-read Section 6.1
until this becomes clear to you.
- Read Traduction / Trahison - Notes on
ANT, by John Law, Univeristy of Lancaster, for some case studies
that apply ANT, along with some comparative discussion.
- Technology as Traitor, a
fascinating case study of technology transfer, on introducing some new
information technology into a large Norwegian company, by Ole Hanseth and
Kristin Braa, of the University of Oslo.
- Re-read How things (actor-net)work:
Classification, magic and the ubiquity of standards, by Geoffrey
Bowker and Susan Leigh Star.
- Course notes, Section 7, on case studies of ANT;
also review Section 6 - there is some new material.
- Due 27 February:
Wrong with Relativism?, by Harry Collins, in Physics World, vol. 11, no. 4
- A Physicist Experiments with Cultural
Studies, by Alan Sokal, in Lingua Franca, vol. 4, May/June
1996, pp. 62-64.
- Read Section 8 of the course notes, and re-read Section 7.
- The Market and the
Net, by Phil Agre. A dense but fascinating discussion of economic
and mythological theories about the internet; we will have to spend some time
in class going over parts of this (and we will have to ignore some other
- For background on economics, read chapter 2, The Neoclassical
Perspective, from Essentials
of Economics: A Hypermedia Text by Roger McCain of Drexel University.
Chapter 1 provides background for the background, and most of you should
probably read that too.
- Due 6 March:
- Re-read Section 8 of the class notes, and re-read
The Market and the Net
by Phil Agre.
- Read Agre's short Review of
Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance by
- The Preface to
The Friction Free Economy by Ted Lewis, an excerpt from and some advertising for the book, and
all 11 (brief) sections of Alice in
Wired World by Ted Lewis (note that section 4. is empty - I think I
know why, and will discuss this in class).
- Quality of Service, an
interview with Andrew Odlyzko by Dan Tebbutt; the raw interview transcription
is optional. Some interesting economic arguments about quality of service on
the internet. Odlyzko argues that there is at most a minor role for ATM
style protocols. From an engineering viewpoint, the most interesting claim
concerns the actual statistical distribution of traffic on the internet
vs. that expected by ATM style protocols.
- "Hopes and horrors: Technological utopianism and anti-utopianism in
narratives of computerization," by Rob Kling, in Computerization and
Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 40-58.
- Chapter 3, Supply and Demand, from Roger McCain's
webtext; it is a bit long and repetative, so you may want to skim parts.
Also read Chapter 1, if you haven't already.
- Due 13 March: This week's readings go deeper into economic issues for the
internet, including ecommerce, more economic background, and some current
issues, like ecash, security vs. risk for ecash, the commercial strategies of
Microsoft, and open source software. I hope you will find it exciting!
- Re-read Section 8 of the course notes; especially
Section 8.3 has new material.
- Risk Management is where the Money
is by Dan Geer. A strong argument that risk is the key
issue for ecommerce, not security as such.
- Read DigiCash: Failure is
Interesting, by Felix Stadler, and also Editorial on Internet Businesses, by
Phil Agre (the included email by Robert Hettinga is optional - interesting,
but a bit ambiguous and full of technical business jargon); both of these are
about DigiCash, a failed online cash service, and both try to put the failure
into a larger social perspective.
- Homesteading the Noosphere
and The Magic Cauldron, by Eric Raymond. These papers, plus The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which is
not required, try to explain how and why open source development works; the
discussion of gift culture, the complexity agrument behind parallel
debugging, the open source business models, and the open source myths, are
- Read Halloween II by Jamie
Love; this document gives URLs to a confidential Microsoft strategy document
and commentaries; the so called halloween documents themselves are optional,
but fascinating. (This material mainly concerns Linux, but the economics and
sociology of Open Source Software in general are also discussed.) The direct
URL for this and much very interesting related material is www.opensource.org/halloween/, but
this is not required reading.
- Read Section 9; this concerns applications of IT
to biotechnology, ubiquitious computing, chat rooms, etc., although this
chapter is still in an early draft form.
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Maintained by Joseph Goguen
© 2000, 2001 Joseph Goguen
Last modified: Mon Mar 12 21:34:29 PST 2001