CSE 175 Homepage - Winter 2001
Social and Ethical Issues in Information Technology


This course explores issues on the interface between information technology and society, with a special focus on ethical issues. Topics include ethical theory, privacy and security, spam, electronic commerce, the digital divide, open source software, medical informatics, bioinformatics, actor-network theory, ethnomethodology, and some neo-classical economics.

See the course outline for more detail, but note that the outline is subject to change as the course progresses. Prerequesites are CSE 9, 10 or 11, the ability to read basic works in the humanities, especially sociology, and the ability to write reasonable English. You will have to write short homework essays. There will be midterm and final exams.

Notes: Be sure to check pages on this website frequently; important notices will be posted near the top of this homepage; homework and readings will be posted on their respective webpages, not given in class; usually they will be posted by Wednesday of the week before they are due on Tuesday. You should reload all webpages frequently, because I may well be editing the same page that you are reading! All webpages are subject to frequent unannounced updates.

Read the lecture notes as they are posted on this website; they are linked to the outline page, and they will evolve as the course develops. The class notes are not a substitute for attending class - much more information on some topics will be given in the lectures, and there will also be hardcopy handouts, guests, diagrams drawn on the board, interactive discussions, etc.

Tuesday, Thursday, 12:45-2:05 pm, Center Hall 222
Section B00, ID 292618

Required Book
Recommended BooksAll these books should be on reserve at the Science and Engineering Library, and the required book should be available from the UCSD Bookstore (but you can probably get it cheaper and more quickly from an online bookseller).
Additional Information

Grades will be based on the last three items below; the extent to which answers in your exams and homework reflect your familiarity with the course notes and readings will be important in their evaluation; 40% of the grade will be in a final test, 30% in the homework, and 30% in the midterm. Optional homework questions count half as much as required questions.

  1. Course notes.
  2. Reading assignments.
  3. Homework assignments.
  4. Midterm exam.
  5. Final test.
Both exams will test on vocabulary introduced during the course; there will also be some essay questions. In some cases it may be possible to substitute a long paper for the final examination. The midterm and final tests are now online.

Other Resources
This is not a technical course in the usual sense, but it is intellectually rigorous; it will carefully explore significant issues on the interfaces among technology, society and ethics, drawing on a variety of rigorous theories. It is expected that you will learn to think clearly about how technical and non-technical aspects interact in the real world, especially regarding ethical issues, and that this will be helpful to you in your work and in your life after graduation.
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Maintained by Joseph Goguen
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Last modified: Wed Sep 17 09:19:56 PDT 2003