Four short links: 18 Sep 2020

Contemporary Issues in Computer Science, The Hardware Lottery, Hope, and Culture

By Nat Torkington
September 18, 2020
Four Short Links
  1. CS349 – Contemporary Issues in Computer ScienceThis class examines ethical frameworks, modern ethical concerns related to computer science and technology, and clear oral and written communication. Topics we will explore include policy vacuums created by new technology, copyright and patent, software bugs and liability, freedom of speech, privacy, security, employment and job markets, warfare and state-building, wealth discrepancy and consumerism, environmental impact, and changing cultural norms and social contracts. Wonderful to see this content being tackled in universities.
  2. The Hardware LotteryWhat follows is part position paper and part ahistorical review. This essay introduces the term hardware lottery to describe when a research idea wins because it is compatible with available software and hardware and not because the idea is superior to alternative research directions. We argue that choices about software and hardware have often played a decisive role in deciding the winners and losers in early computer science history.
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  4. Hopea Bitsy game about learning to rely on others and fighting against hopelessness, together. I look for software that makes people and societies stronger, rather than weaker.
  5. Your Values are the Rules You BreakIf you are writing down “rules” and insisting that developers abide by them, it’s probably because your developers are continuously doing things you wish they wouldn’t. Usually, this isn’t because your developers don’t understand “the rules” and/or don’t like you—it’s because they know what the organization values, and those values are in conflict with your “rules,” and they’re trying to deliver that value.
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