Thursday, March 21, 2019

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

COMP7004 Class 08.2

Monday was holiday. There was no class.

Today we watched Black Mirror: Man Against Fire.

We discussed how filters on our perception of the world can be used to manipulate us and drew parallels with Facebook and Google.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

COMP7004 Class 07.2

We continued our look at the GDPR.

We will move on from this topic after this week whether we are finished or not.

Monday, March 11, 2019

COMP7004 Class 07.1

We began our look at the GDPR.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

COMP7004 Class 06.3

We looked at privacy and data protection.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

COMP7004 Class 06.2

Movie morning was not a huge success.  That concludes our discussion of the DDR.

Was Hänschen nicht lernte, lernt Hans nimmermehr.

Monday, March 4, 2019

COMP7004 Class 06.1

We watched the first 50 minute Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others).  This depicts life in the DDR in the late1980s.

I had hoped that we would watch the entire movie over two classes, but it is much longer than I remembered it.  And it is 

m u c h  s l o w e r.

In the next class we will watch the last 40 minutes or so.  We will skip the middle.  This time will give us some time for discussion.

Some students expressed concern after class that I had not warned them in advance of the content.  The last segment of the movie depicts a woman running in front of a truck and dying.

I was asked if we could cancel Wednesday's class because students have very little else on that day.  But I'm not able to do that.  So I hope to see you there.

Deutschland '83 is a very entertaining series available to stream for free on Channel 4 that deals with same period.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

COMP7004 Class 05.3

We tried to tease out on the board what is meant by "Privacy". We decided that there are public spaces and private spaces, such as home.  We also discussed how there are public places where there is an expectation of privacy, notwithstanding that the space is public.

We figured that privacy is mostly about control over what about us is revealed and to whom.

Colin argued that as well as valuing privacy for itself, we must recognise that privacy is required for other things that we might want to do.  And that although privacy is a right of individuals, a society a large needs to support privacy if it is to achieve its objectives.  This was a harder sell.

We discussed how technology can blur the binary between private and public spaces.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

COMP7004 Class 05.2

We looked at professional obligations and whistleblowing.

Monday, February 25, 2019

COMP7004 Class 05.1

We looked at arguments and discussed the difference between false premises and invalid arguments. We looked at some of the most common fallacies that we encounter is shoddy reasoning.  I asked students to work in groups to come up with examples of the different kinds.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

COMP7004 Class 04.3

We looked at Codes of Ethics from the IEEE, ACM, and ICS.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

COMP7004 Class 04.2

We looked at deontological approaches to ethics. We looked moral absolutism vs. moral relativism

Monday, February 18, 2019

COMP7004 Class 04.1

We had no class today because Colin got the time wrong. I'm very sorry guys.

COMP7004 Class 03.3

We had no class today because Colin was away.

COMP7004 Class 03.2

We had no class today because Colin was away.

Monday, February 11, 2019

COMP7004 Class 03.1

We listed to a BBC documentary about utilitarian ethics and the Trolley Problem.

Would You Push the Big Guy Part I

I asked student to complete the exercise at

We discussed self driving car and how bias can be introduced into training of AI.

Students can second to Would You Push the Big Guy Part II here.

There will now other COMP7004 classes this week, because Colin is away.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

COMP7004 Class 02.3 Cancelled

This class was cancelled because Colin had a meeting

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

COMP7004 Class 02.2

We loved at Intuitionsim and Consequentialism.  We will return to consequentialism in the next class.

There will be no class on Thursday because I have a meeting that clashes.

Students have asked me to move classes on Thursdays because of timetable class with another module.  I'll look into it

Monday, February 4, 2019

COMP7004 Class 02.1

We discussed what is meant by CyberEthics and whether it was a field of study distinct from regular ethic or just a subset of it.  We didn't really find an answer.

We looked at the sources of morality and considered Supernaturalism at length. I asked students to think of examples where supernaturalism is invoked in discussions about technology.  Generic engineering and reproductive rights were the two we could think of.

I mentioned Supernaturalism in debates about the environment. But the most interesting (but not convincing) I found are arguments like this against the use of RFID based on Revelations.

In discussions of CyberTechnoloy Supernatural arguments are rarely invoked.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

COMP7004 Class 01.3

Thinking about the John Oliver video on Credit Scores from the last class I asked student to propose ideas that a government might use to make the problems less severe.

We came up with some suggestions and discussed them briefly.

We watched a video on the Social Credit system in P.R. China.  I asked the class how much of the problem stems fro the technology, and how much of it is about how it is used.  Someone pointed out that there is widespread surveillance in UK cities, but none of us would have any cause to be afraid.  So is it the technology itself, or how it is used? Is technology neutral? These are questions we will return to.

I asked students to speculate on which countries in Europe had citizens most paranoid about data privacy.  One student proposed Sweden and Finland, and speculated that this was connected the their proximity to Russia. I proposed Germany, because if it's past.

Full report:

It turns out Finns are super happy. It has been argued that fear about data protection is inversely correlated with trust I the government.  Finn trust their government. Germany came second.  The Austrians are most concerned.