CSE 268D: Social Aspects of Technology and
- Due 7 October:
- Lecture Notes on
Technological Determinism, by Daniel Chandler, University of
- Webpage on
Technological Determinism UK Technology Education Centre. You may also
enjoy browsing some of the other related material on this site.
- Due 14 October:
- Several items handed out in class on 7 October (if you miss class, my
secretary, David Norris, should have extra copies).
- 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.
- Effects of Technology on Family and
Community, by J.A. English-Lueck. Recent report on a study of the
effects of technology on family life in Silicon Valley.
- Due 21 October:
- Webpage on Descartes and
Mind/Body Dualism, by Serendip at Bryn Mawr. Read all six parts, of
which this is the first.
- An Outline
of Descartes' thought. Im not sure where this outline for some
introductory philosophy course is from, but it is mistaken in asserting that
God is a substance for Descartes.
- A Sketch of the Kuhnian Philosophy of
Science, by Silvio Chibeni, via Illinois State University. A brief
summary of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn
- Objectivity, Value Judgment, and Theory
Choice, by Thomas Kuhn, via Illinois State University. This fills
in some points that are not so clear in Kuhn's book.
- Profile: Reluctant Revolutionary, by
John Horgan, Scientific American, May 1991, pp.40-49, via Illinois
State University. An interview containing much pertinent information.
- Due 28 October:
- A short webpage on Giordano Bruno.
- A short webpage on Sir Francis
- Read the Galileo sections of Joseph Dauben's Art of Renaissance
Science and skim Worlds without
End, from a book by James Burke, via Illinois State University (no
need to read all of this, you can search for Galileo in it, for example using
Netscape's Find command; parts of it are rather unrealiable).
- A short webpage on Thomas Hobbes.
- A short clarification of the definition of "paradigm" in Kuhn, by Cunningham.
- How things (actor-net)work: Classification,
magic and the ubiquity of standards, by Geoffrey Bowker and Susan
Leigh Star, via the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Although
this paper may be difficult for many of you, I think it is the most
interesting paper we have had so far; you should read it at least twice; you
will need some help with the actor-network theory, which will be covered in
the notes for the fifth meeting. We will spend
considerable time working on this paper a little later on.
- A Bayesian Critique of Statistics in
Health, by Robert Matthews. A controversial discussion of
statistical issues in medical research. Although the Bayesian stance is
dubious, the reports about failed medical studies are significant.
- Due 4 November:
- Database Metatheory: Asking the Big
Queries by Christos Papadimitriou. Application of Kuhn,
falsifiability, social networks, and even the Volterra equation to database
theory, by a former CSE faculty member, now at Berkeley.
- Some examples of applying ANT with comparative discussion are in Traduction /
Trahison - Notes on ANT, by John Law, Univeristy of Lancaster.
- Reread How things (actor-net)work:
Classification, magic and the ubiquity of standards, by Geoffrey
Bowker and Susan Leigh Star, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
Help with actor-network theory is available in the notes for
the fifth meeting and the above paper by John Law.
- Due 11 November:
- 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),
- For background in 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 18 November:
This week we get deeper into economic issues for the internet, including
ecommerce, more economic background, and some very current issues, like the
demise of DigiCash, security vs. risk for ecash, the commercial strategies of
Microsoft, and open source software. Two hardcopy pieces on Microsoft by Ted
Lewis, from his Binary Critic column in IEEE Computer, will be
handed out in class. I hope you find this exciting!
- Reread The Market and the
Net by Phil Agre, and be prepared to discuss it in class; also read
Agre's Review of Institutions,
Institutional Change, and Economic Performance by Douglass North
(this webpage also includes a list of URL's that Phil sent with his book
review; these are optional).
- The Preface to
Ted Lewis's book, The Friction Free Economy.
- All 11 webpages of Alice in
Wired World by Ted Lewis (note that 4. is empty - I dont know why,
but I will explain this issue in class).
- Chapter 3, Supply and
Demand, from Roger
McCain's webtext; this is a bit long and even repetative, so you may want
to skim parts. Also read Chapter 1, if you haven't already.
- Call for Papers: The Political Economy of
Convergence, by Colin Sparks.
- Editorial on Internet Businesses, by
Phil Agre; the forwarded email by Robert Hettinga is optional.
- Optional: Risk Management is where the Money
is by Dan Geer; in any case, we will take this up in detail later.
- Optional: Halloween II by Jamie
Love; URLs for a confidential Microsoft strategy document and commentaries;
the so called halloween documents themselves are of course also optional, but
they are really fascinating! (This material mainly concerns Linux, but the
economics and sociology of Open Source Software in general are also
discussed; and you may want to check out two very interesting papers by Eric
Raymond that are extensively discussed in the Microsoft document, The Cathedral and the Bazaar and Homesteading the Noosphere, by Eric Raymond.)
- Due 25 November (this class will be taught by Dr Almira Karabeg):
- Read about publications, software and
products; and data and statistics from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention homepage (this is a US government site).
- Read data fusion for
the multi-media database at the Fraunhofer Center for Research in
- Read Medical Database
Security Guidelines, from University of Plymouth ISHTAR project.
- If you can find Situations vs. Standards in Long-term, Wide-scale
Decision Making, the case of the ICD by Star and Bowker on the web or
elsewhere, please read it, and (insofar as you can) let other know how to
- Due 2 December (continuing from 18 November):
- 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.
- The Cathedral and the Bazaar and Homesteading the Noosphere, by Eric Raymond. These papers try to
explain why the open source development model of Linux works; I found the
discussion of gift culture, and the computational complexity agrument behind
parallel debugging, to be the most interesting points.
- Halloween II by Jamie Love; gives
URLs to a confidential Microsoft strategy document and commentaries; the so
called halloween documents themselves are optional, but they are really
fascinating! (This material mainly concerns Linux, but the economics and
sociology of Open Source Software in general are also discussed.)
- Quality of Service, an interview with
Andrew Odlyzko by Dan Tebbutt, forwarded by Phil Agre; the raw interview
transcription is optional. Some interesting economic arguments about quality
of service on the internet. Odlyzko claims there is at most a minor role for
ATM style protocols. From an engineering view, the interesting point
concerns the actual statistical distribution of traffic on the internet
vs. the traffic expected by ATM style protocols.
- EU/US Privacy Safe Harbor, a very recent
forward from Phil Agre relating to how the US is dealing with the rather
good privacy guarantees that the European Union is implementing.
- Information and Libraries, a very good
example of how politics, economics, and other social factors conspire with
mythology about information technology to produce some startlingly bad
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Maintained by Joseph Goguen
Last modified 20 November 1998