Tech’s Ethical ‘Dark Side’: Harvard, Stanford and Others Want to Address It

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Tech’s Ethical ‘Dark Side’: Harvard, Stanford and Others Want to Address It
“We need to at least teach people that there’s a dark side to the idea
that you should move fast and break things,” said Laura Norén, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Data Science at New York University who began teaching a new data science ethics course this semester.
“If data science ethics training focuses entirely on the individual responsibility
of the data scientist, it risks overlooking the role of the broader enterprise.”
course, which has 30 students, focuses on the ethical, policy and legal implications of artificial intelligence.
Last fall, Cornell University introduced a data science course where students learned to deal with ethical challenges — such as biased data sets
that include too few lower-income households to be representative of the general population.
“It was really focused on trying to help them understand what in their everyday practice as a data scientist they are likely to confront,
and to help them think through those challenges more systematically,” said Solon Barocas, an assistant professor in information science who taught the course.
“It’s about finding or identifying issues that we know in the next two, three, five, 10 years, the students who graduate from here are going
to have to grapple with,” said Mehran Sahami, a popular computer science professor at Stanford who is helping to develop the course.
In another Cornell course, Karen Levy, also an assistant professor in information
science, is teaching her students to focus more on the ethics of tech companies.


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