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Talk: Using Science Fiction to Teach Computer Ethics: Model Class

Speaker: Judy Goldsmith, Professor at University of Kentucky

Event Details

Thursday, November 4, 2021
4-5 p.m.
Union South - Northwoods


Abstract:  In this talk/class hybrid, I will present a brief argument for using science fiction to teach computer ethics, and a lightening overview of three principle Western ethical frameworks (utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and deontology).  I will give a brief overview of the story, Today I am Paul, by Martin Shoemaker.  The audience will then break into groups and each group will discuss the ethics of the characters' choices in the story.  There will be a brief report-back period and summary of the relevant computer science themes.  Goldsmith will then a lead discussion of how to generalize this experience to a real class, as well as mention of non-Western ethics frameworks as time allows.  There is no expectation of prior familiarity with science fiction or computer ethics!  Participants/attendees are strongly encouraged to read the story prior to the colloquium.

Bio:  Dr. Judy Goldsmith received her degrees in Mathematics from Princeton University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She held post-doc at Dartmouth College and Boston University, an assistant professorship at the University of Manitoba, and has been in the Computer Science Department of the University of Kentucky since 1993. She is a full professor.  Her research is primarily in AI, especially Computational Social Choice, with forays into social network theory and computer ethics pedagogy.  She served on the editorial board of JAIR since 2008, and on the editorial board of Artificial Intelligence from 2015, and is now an associate editor. She has co-edited special issues of Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence ('14), International Journal on Approximate Reasoning, and AI Magazine ('08). Goldsmith was recognized in 2014 as a Senior Member of AAAI, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. She was elected in June 2019 to the AAAI Executive Council. In 2015, Goldsmith received an Undergraduate Research Mentor award from the Computing Research Association. She has received teaching awards at the department, college, and university level at the University of Kentucky. In 1998, Goldsmith was recognized by the AAAS for her mentoring of members of underrepresented groups in the STEM disciplines. She has helped organize and/or participated in several conferences for women in computing, as well as multiple doctoral consortia at AI conferences, and was local organizer for Algorithmic Decision Theory 2015.

Goldsmith has taught classes in recent years on artificial intelligence, theory of computing, discrete math and logic, comparative decision making studies, and "science fiction and computer ethics", and is currently working with Emanuelle Burton, Nicholas Mattei, Cory Siler, and Sara-Jo Swiatek on a textbook for that course. Optimistically speaking, the book will be available from MIT Press for the Fall semester of 2022.