Late Introduction (Reading 00)

I forgot to introduce myself before my first post, Sorry! Anyways, my name is John Nolan, I am studying Computer Science and English. This will be my last year at Notre Dame, so I am having to think about what positions I will apply to and where I want to take my life. Hopefully this class will give me clearer ideas about that. I am also writing an English thesis this year that strongly relates to ethics, so a lot of my thought in this class will probably feed into that work (oddly it also has a bit to do with the philosophy of technology, which I am sure will be applicable here).

I cannot say that I had any strong conviction when I chose the computer science major. I knew I would have to have an engineering degree to appease my parents, but I also wanted to study some sort of art or humanities. I thought computer science would have the most to do with media and expression, and I was also pretty capable with the matlab assignments freshmen year. So I settled on the computer science major, along with English.

Now I am glad I picked the computer science major, since I think it intersects well with my interests. I have become much more interested in philosophy while I was here, and I like thinking about what problems new technologies pose for the human condition and philosophy of mind. More particularly, I am fascinated by the philosophy of language. My favorite philosopher now is Wittgenstein. He is a major part of my thesis and just on my mind most of the time. I have some desire to work in NLP because the field could benefit from some awareness of the ideas put forward in Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language. Although that is the area I am most excited to pursue in the future, my other interests include film, music and literature. My favorite directors are Fassbinder, Tarkovsky, Fellini, and Pasolini (who’s on this site’s cover photo). I read a lot of James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Emily Dickinson, and other American poets. As far as music I listen to John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, and some punk like Patti Smith or Pavement.

I cannot narrow down one particular ethical issue in the computer field, but I definitely want to discuss how pervasive it has become and the way it is shaping our daily lives.