COMPUTING AND SOCIETY
2009/2010, Semester 2
School of Computing (Information Systems & Analytics)
Modular Credits: 3
The proliferation of information & communications technologies (ICT) has had an extraordinary impact on society. ICT has the potential to extend or restrict the capabilities of individuals, change the nature of organizations & industries, and empower communities & countries with abilities to enhance or control their collectives. Ideally, developments of such technologies should support and advance human values. In reality, its results have been mixed.
This module is concerned with developing a critical awareness of the impact and influence of ICT (both positive and negative) on society, at both a local and global scale. As computing professionals (or other professionals in a digitally-driven world), this ability is increasingly important - the impact of ICT on society directly affects its use, development, deployment and acceptance. At the same time, these impacts also introduce new opportunities for ICT to change social system and structures in innovative ways.
We will explore and analyze the interaction of ICT on social systems; examine how technological paradigms, systems & devices transform societies, economies & individuals, and vice versa; review how policies, laws & social norms are developed as they relate to technology use and acceptance; and investigate the emerging controversies surrounding the use and regulation of technology in society.
Throughout the module, emphasis will be placed on establishing an in-depth understanding of the professional, legal and ethical responsibilities of computing professionals, and developing an ability to analyze the impact of ICT critically. This module does not adopt a focus on general ethics and philosophy. Instead, our focus is on applied ethics, specifically on the domain of the creation and use of ICT.
Historical and contemporary studies, cases and examples will be used extensively in this course.
Lectures: 1 hour / week
Tutorials: 1 hour / week
While our contact hours each week are short, you will be expected to read widely on the topics we will discuss outside our contact time. Each lecture will be accompanied by a set of readings.
Tutorial attendance and participation: 20%
Term assignment (teamwork): 30%
Final exam: 50%
Digital Intellectual Properties
Security & Reliability
Crime & Punishment
Freedom of Speech
National & Global Issues