CSE 190B: Social and Ethical Issues in Information Technology - Winter 2001
Reading Assignments
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.
  1. Due 16 January:
    1. Section 1, Section 2, and Section 3 of the course notes.
    2. Webpage on Technological Determinism UK Technology Education Centre. You may also enjoy browsing some of the other related material on this site.
    3. Lecture Notes on Technological Determinism, by Daniel Chandler, of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK.
  2. Due 23 January:
    1. Section 4 of the course notes, and re-read Section 3.
    2. 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.
    3. Two news reports on the crash of EgyptAir flight 990, one on the American investigation and the other on Egyptian reactions.
    4. 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.
    5. Notes on Narrative.
  3. Due 30 January:
    1. Section 5 of the course notes, and re-read Section 4 (it has changed a bit).
    2. "The seductive equation of technological progress with social progress," by Rob Kling, in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 22-25.
    3. "B of A's plans for computer don't add up," by Douglas Frantz, in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 161-169.
    4. 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 Acknowledgement.
    5. 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.
  4. Due 6 February:
    1. Re-read Section 5 of the course notes (it is a bit tricky, and it has changed a lot!).
    2. "Information and computer scientists as moral philosophers and social analysts," by Rob Kling, in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 32-38.
    3. "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.
    4. "Power in systems design," by Bo Dahlbom and Lars Mathiassen, in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 903-906.
    5. "Codes of professional ethics," by Ronald Anderson, Deborah Johnson et al., in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 876-877.
    6. The ACM Code of Ethics; also in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 878-888.
  5. Due 13 February:
    1. Course notes, Section 6, on social theories of technology and science; also review Section 5 - there is some new material.
    2. "Computers as tools and social systems: the car-computer analogy," by Rob Kling, in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 16-21.
    3. "Articulation work," by Lucy Suchman, in Computerization and Controversy, ed. Rob Kling, pp. 407-423.
    4. 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.
  6. Due 20 February:
    1. 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.
    2. Read Traduction / Trahison - Notes on ANT, by John Law, Univeristy of Lancaster, for some case studies that apply ANT, along with some comparative discussion.
    3. 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.
    4. Re-read How things (actor-net)work: Classification, magic and the ubiquity of standards, by Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Star.
    5. Course notes, Section 7, on case studies of ANT; also review Section 6 - there is some new material.
  7. Due 27 February:
    1. What's Wrong with Relativism?, by Harry Collins, in Physics World, vol. 11, no. 4 (1998).
    2. A Physicist Experiments with Cultural Studies, by Alan Sokal, in Lingua Franca, vol. 4, May/June 1996, pp. 62-64.
    3. Read Section 8 of the course notes, and re-read Section 7.
    4. 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 parts).
    5. 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.
  8. Due 6 March:
    1. Re-read Section 8 of the class notes, and re-read The Market and the Net by Phil Agre.
    2. Read Agre's short Review of Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance by Douglass North.
    3. 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).
    4. 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.
    5. "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.
    6. 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.
  9. 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!
    1. Re-read Section 8 of the course notes; especially Section 8.3 has new material.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 all interesting.
    5. 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.
    6. 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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Last modified: Mon Mar 12 21:34:29 PST 2001