Information technology (IT) is constantly developing, influencing our everyday life, and impacting choices and decisions at individual as well as at collective level. Thus, IT is invading the social, political and economic spheres. Systems and tools that use modern computer science technologies have clear ethical and social impacts. Even if such impacts have already been subject of discussion in the Artificial Intelligence field, their scope is definitely much broader, and they potentially affect all the fields of Informatics. What happens when they control autonomous systems or make important decisions? How should they be developed and deployed? Can they be made predictable and reliable? Which ethical and legal implications should be observed? The social and ethical impact of new technologies is a key issue of our increasingly connected society that affects users, developers, researchers and governments. During their training in university degree programs in Informatics, students are provided with the basis for designing and developing modern computer systems. A question arises, then, if they should be trained also on ethical and societal topics, thus enabling them to conceive “good” and beneficial Informatics systems for the society. In 2019 a group of experts, following an open call for interest disseminated in Europe, was convened with the goal of analyze this issue. The working group on “Ethical/social impact of Informatics as a study subject in Informatics university degree programs” has tried to understand the current state of affairs and to solicit a discussion on these topics, by answering questions such as, for example: Should ethical/social impact of Informatics be a study subject in Informatics university degree programs? Why? What are the main ethical issues arising from the application of Informatics in society? In which areas ethical/social impacts of Informatics are more evident? Which topics of study at university programs should be taught to make students skilled in ethics-aware design? This report is the first product of the activity of this working group, outlining the possible approaches, the state of the art, and suggestions and guidelines for inclusion of topics related to ethics, responsibility and social impacts in Informatics university degree programs. Given the broadness of the topic, in this first exploratory phase, we surveyed the position of the WG members. We have had an enthusiastic participation: 30 out of 32 WG members replied to the questionnaire. In this report, we collect and summarize the results of this consultation together with feedbacks and comments from WG members, to provide a first starting point for further discussions and to establish how to focus and organize further work of the WG.

Ethical/Social Impact of Informatics as a Study Subject in Informatics University Degree Programs

P. Mello;
2019

Abstract

Information technology (IT) is constantly developing, influencing our everyday life, and impacting choices and decisions at individual as well as at collective level. Thus, IT is invading the social, political and economic spheres. Systems and tools that use modern computer science technologies have clear ethical and social impacts. Even if such impacts have already been subject of discussion in the Artificial Intelligence field, their scope is definitely much broader, and they potentially affect all the fields of Informatics. What happens when they control autonomous systems or make important decisions? How should they be developed and deployed? Can they be made predictable and reliable? Which ethical and legal implications should be observed? The social and ethical impact of new technologies is a key issue of our increasingly connected society that affects users, developers, researchers and governments. During their training in university degree programs in Informatics, students are provided with the basis for designing and developing modern computer systems. A question arises, then, if they should be trained also on ethical and societal topics, thus enabling them to conceive “good” and beneficial Informatics systems for the society. In 2019 a group of experts, following an open call for interest disseminated in Europe, was convened with the goal of analyze this issue. The working group on “Ethical/social impact of Informatics as a study subject in Informatics university degree programs” has tried to understand the current state of affairs and to solicit a discussion on these topics, by answering questions such as, for example: Should ethical/social impact of Informatics be a study subject in Informatics university degree programs? Why? What are the main ethical issues arising from the application of Informatics in society? In which areas ethical/social impacts of Informatics are more evident? Which topics of study at university programs should be taught to make students skilled in ethics-aware design? This report is the first product of the activity of this working group, outlining the possible approaches, the state of the art, and suggestions and guidelines for inclusion of topics related to ethics, responsibility and social impacts in Informatics university degree programs. Given the broadness of the topic, in this first exploratory phase, we surveyed the position of the WG members. We have had an enthusiastic participation: 30 out of 32 WG members replied to the questionnaire. In this report, we collect and summarize the results of this consultation together with feedbacks and comments from WG members, to provide a first starting point for further discussions and to establish how to focus and organize further work of the WG.
P.Mello, E. Nardelli
File in questo prodotto:
Eventuali allegati, non sono esposti

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/762238
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact