We became Hochschulperle 2019!

We were awarded the Hochschulperle of the Month of January by the Stifterverband and thereby qualified to become the Hochschulperle of the year 2019. With the help of much more than 2000 voters, we won the award in a real voting thriller.

Ethics for Nerds

Computer science and the research associated with it increasingly shape our society. Computer scientists are (at least partially) responsible for many of these developments. To make the future better and fairer, prospective computer scientists need the right tools to meet the corresponding and, most importantly, legitimate expectations of society.

Our answer to this situation is Ethics for Nerds, a lecture at Saarland University which raises awareness for the challenges of today. It is aimed at students of computer science and related subjects. The course provides the necessary skills and teaches the basics of ethics.

Ethics for Nerds

Face recognition, armed drones, models that predict human behavior, and algorithms that produce filter bubbles, echo chambers and support tribalism and undermine democracy informatics-related research and development increasingly shape our society in many different ways. Many of these ways are not good, yet these technological achievements could also help to solve many problems and improve the lives of millions and billions of people.

While computer scientists do not bear the sole and full responsibility for making the world a better place, they definitely are partially responsible for the effects of their work. Nevertheless, they are mostly left alone with this observation. They are neither thaught the methodological or philosophical background, nor the right skills to live up to their responsibility. Instead, they are often left alone with ethical and societal issues of their work.

Our response at Saarland University is Ethics for Nerds, a lecture designed by philosophers and computer scientists for students of informatics and related subjects.

Find out more about the lecture and its contents, the team behind it, and the course’s history.

Ethics for Nerds in the media

Over the years, Ethics for Nerds and its team members have been covered in the media multiple times. Here is a ‘best of’.

June 2015: First Coverage in Deutschlandfunk

In June 2015, Holger Hermanns and Ulla Wessels were guests for an interview on Deutschlandfunk. The combination of Philosophy and Informatics was instantly noted as something new and interesting.

Early 2017: Podcast: Zündfunk Generator

In 2017, Ethics for Nerds acted as both, topic and eponym, for the Zündfunk Generator Podcast by Bayrischer Rundfunk. Alexandra Distler interviewed Kevin Baum. The episode was later awarded the Journalist Prize for Informatics in the category radio broadcasting.

September 2019: Ethics for Nerds 2019 at Deutschlandfunk
January 2019: a ZEIT article

An article published in ZEIT, authored by a professor from Ruhr-University Bochum, calls for more lectures like Ethics for Nerds.

Zündfunk Generator - Ethik für Nerds

by Alexandra Distler | https://www.br.de/radio/bayern2/programmkalender/ausstrahlung-1090012.html