Ethics & Technology (and Popcorn)
The Entrepreneurship Track’s Kickoff Event of Fall 2018
September 12, 2018
This past month, CS + Social Good’s Entrepreneurship Team was excited to host our very first event of the year, a discussion on ethics in technology! One of our team members, Morgan Powers, hand-selected a few short TED talks (video 1, video 2) covering interesting points in the discussion of ethics and technology, one being about cybersecurity and the future generation and another on decision making processes when utilizing technology. The discussion was organized with many open-ended questions, and popcorn was served as a treat for the attendees.
Participants ranged from Industrial Engineers to Computer Scientists, from first years to 4th years, and everything in between. Most everyone participated in the discussion, and it flowed freely. Among some of the topics discussed, one of the primary ones was data privacy, especially with large social media companies having large amounts of user data. It was brought up that if people read every privacy notice for every website they visited in a day, it would take around 4 hours each day. In addition to that, the wording of these notices are intentionally complicated to prevent user push-back. The companies thus remained protected, but is it really ethical for them to be intentionally befuddling the privacy rights information for their consumers?
On the other side of this, the safety and ethicality of the actual data storage was questioned. Some did not mind having the companies keep large amounts of personal information on them, since they were just “a line in millions of lines in a database.” However, others disagreed, since they believed each line contributed to the larger sets that the media companies utilize for their targeted services that some people find unsettling and “creepy”.
Near the end of the discussion, the newer data protection laws were discussed. The GDPR regulations mark a big change in the way data is treated, and we questioned the effects of these laws. Personally, I did not believe that many people would utilize the features to actually view their data, and many other participants agreed, although they appreciated having that option there. There was no finite conclusion to the discussion, but we could all agree that these discussions are something that are lacking in the current field of computer science.
Through more events like this, CS + Social Good hopes to encourage more students at Georgia Tech to be mindful of ethics in their decision-making. We all are incredibly lucky to be able to study at such an institution and with that comes the responsibility to utilize our knowledge in a positive manner. If hearing about this event interested you (or if you’re more interested in the social entrepreneurship/non-profit side), find us on our website & follow us on Medium or Facebook! We’d love to hear from you, and hope to see you at our events!
Learn more about CS + Social Good here!