RES.TLL-008 | Spring 2023 | Non Credit

Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing (SERC)

Law and Policy

STS.012/STS.008 Science in Action: Technologies and Controversies in Everyday Life

Author: Dwai Banerjee

Lecture Module: “Big Data and Personal Privacy”

Keywords: privacy; AI; surveillance; data ethics

Module Goals:

  • To find overlaps and differences in the experience of students learning about their right to privacy
  • To discuss whether they believe existing rights to be adequate
  • To examine whether current ethical standards (such as those instituted by the GDPR) sufficiently protect their rights (as they exist or as they believe should exist).

17.46 U.S. National Security Policy

Authors: Erik Lin-Greenberg, Lily Tsai

Lecture Module: “Cyber Crisis Scenario”

Keywords: emerging technology and international security, the politics of cybersecurity, national security policy, the law of armed conflict/international law  

Module Goals: A scenario-based end-of-semester exercise for an MIT undergraduate political science course, implemented over two 80 min classes. The scenario was intended to provide students with an opportunity to apply core class concepts, which included an understanding of the interagency process, the various actors involved in making and implementing national security policy, the law of armed conflict/international law, and the changing character of international crises.

MIT Case Studies in Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing

Brief, specially commissioned and peer-reviewed cases intended to be effective for undergraduate instruction across a range of classes and fields of study.

Winter 2023

Emotional Attachment to AI Companions and European Law, by Claire Boine (University of Ottowa)

Keywords: AI law, AI companions, human-machine interactions, data privacy, consumer protection 

The Right to Be an Exception to a Data-Driven Rule, by Sarah H. Cen and Manish Raghavan (MIT)

Keywords: data-driven decision-making, rights and duties, individualization, uncertainty, harm

Summer 2022

“Porsche Girl”: When a Dead Body Becomes a Meme, by Nadia de Vries (University of Amsterdam)

Keywords: digital death, bodies, memes, online abuse, Nikki Castouras

Patenting Bias: Algorithmic Race and Ethnicity Classifications, Proprietary Rights, and Public Data, by Tiffany Nichols (Harvard University)

Keywords: racial and ethnic classifications, algorithmic bias, patents, public data

Privacy and Paternalism: The Ethics of Student Data Collection, by Kathleen Creel (Northeastern University) and Tara Dixit (Chantilly High School, Virginia)

Keywords: user data privacy, student data, contextual integrity, educational technology, children’s rights, surveillance

Winter 2022

Differential Privacy and the 2020 US Census, by Simson Garfinkel (George Washington University)

Keywords: differential privacy, disclosure avoidance, statistical disclosure limitation, US Census Bureau

Protections for Human Subjects in Research: Old Models, New Needs?, by Laura Stark (Vanderbilt University)

Keywords: human-subjects research, informed consent, institutional review boards, big data

The Puzzle of the Missing Robots, by Suzanne Berger (MIT) and Benjamin Armstrong (MIT)

Keywords: robots, automation, manufacturing, workforce

Algorithmic Redistricting and Black Representation in US Elections, by Zachary Schutzman (MIT)

Keywords: redistricting, algorithms, race, politics, elections

Summer 2021

Wrestling with Killer Robots: The Benefits and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence for National Security, by Erik Lin-Greenberg

Keywords: autonomous weapons, killer robots, military ethics, modern warfare

Public Debate on Facial Recognition Technologies in China, by Tristan G. Brown, Alexander Statman, and Celine Sui

Keywords: facial recognition, Chinese law, social media

Winter 2021

The Case of the Nosy Neighbors, by Johanna Gunawan and Woodrow Hartzog (Northeastern University)

Keywords: user data privacy, technology in norm enforcement, facial recognition, mass surveillance, mass scraping of public data

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2023
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Instructor Insights
Multiple Assignment Types