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.
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
Dezember 2017: Kevin in Panorama (ARD)
January 2019: FAZ coverage
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.