Ethics curriculum enriches data courses


Advanced technology and algorithms influence everything from the news we read to our politics on social media to our mortgage qualifications. Yet computer science courses mostly lack an ethics component for future developers who will go on to wield such capabilities.

A team of Columbia professors and students have gathered to ensure the use of data for good, promoting diverse ideas to develop equitable technology. The team is creating an “ethical companion” chapter to complement computer science textbooks. They are also building a website with slides, lectures, and case studies that probe the ethical dilemmas of areas such as social networks and algorithm design.

A foundation in ethics will help students grapple with questions such as, “Do we really want to build apps that people use out of habit, and not because the app delivers value?" It will also help future developers identify and root out biases that can creep into automated systems. Learn more.


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