General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Social and Ethical Issues in Computing
Language English
Module lecturer dr Bartłomiej Chomański
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position PhD
Faculty Faculty of Philosophy
Semester 2021/2022 (winter)
Duration 30
USOS code 000


Module aim (aims)

To acquaint students with the most pressing ethical and social issues surrounding the use of computing technology (broadly construed), from social media to artificial intelligence. The course will enable the students to apply rigorous ethical analysis to evaluating the impact of these technologies in a range of areas, both personal and political.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Ability to speak, write, and read English at least at an advanced level.


Critical thinking and argumentation, or how to think and write like a philosopher. Introduction to ethical theories and how to apply them to contemporary problems involving information and computer technology (ICT), or how to think like an ethicist. What’s a computer?

“The attention economy”: definition and ethical issues: addiction, depression, and hijacked minds. Free speech, democracy, and censorship on the Internet. Big Tech and regulation.

Privacy and surveillance. Value of online privacy. Privacy and consent. State surveillance: risks and benefits.

Artificial intelligence and ethics of algorithms: transparency and opacity; fairness and bias; the ethics of rule by algorithm (“algocracy”).

Artificial intelligence and automation: the ethics of autonomous cars and autonomous weapons; automation and the threat of unemployment.

Artificial intelligence: the dream of artificial minds; the ethics of superintelligent machines; the ethics of conscious machines.

Cryptocurrency: good or bad?

Reading list