Writing 00: Responsibility

I am really excited to explore the ethical aspect of Computer Science this semester for many reasons. Primarily, ethics play a major role in CS due to the disciplines close connection with human nature. Within all fields of technology, we are attempting to improve human life regarding efficiency, quality of life, and happiness. Given we work so closely with human nature in nature of big data and artificial intelligence, it is essential that we recognize the consequences of our actions and their close relation to morality. Regarding frameworks, I lean towards yet struggle the most with Utilitarianism. While I believe technology has the benefit of helping the most people at a large scale, I don’t believe it should come at a cost of greatly harming others. The crux of computer science is to benefit human life through technological assistance.
At the University of Notre Dame, I have been incredibly blessed to develop many talents in technology. Before college, I coded only in my AP Computer Science Class in high school and thought my vocation was destined for Chemical Engineering or some discipline related to the agriculture industry. However when entering introduction to engineering at Notre Dame, I realized the power of Computer Science and the joy it brings to masses. Switching my major was one of the best decisions I have ever made as I’ve loved every minute of Computer Science so far. One of the many reasons I chose Notre Dame was its ability to shape an individual technically but as a human and leader. Reflecting on the past three years, I am genuinely shocked with the amount I have learned about the field and technical skills I have gained along the way. In addition to technical talent, I genuinely feel Notre Dame has developed me as a human being. I consider one of the greatest talents of Notre Dame graduates is their compassion for other individuals and the ability to consider many aspects of an industry outside of their specialty.
Another wonderful aspect of Notre Dame is the ability to explore other majors and minors. Last summer, I decided to add a Philosophy minor which proved to be one of the better decisions I have made. Not only is Philosophy incredibly interesting as a topic, but it also aligns directly with Computer Science. I took a course in the Fall of 2018 called “Science Virtue and the Good Life.” In this class, we discussed the importance of morality in scientific and engineering professions. For example, we discussed if a scientist has to be a “good” person to be considered a good person. In addition, we discussed moral responsibility. For this, the main example was a bridge collapsing and killing people or a faulty drug killing many. In these situation, the main discussion revolves around who is morally responsibly—is it the contractor, engineer, owner, or construction worker? During this course, I began to ask questions about the morality of computer science. Within the next few years, I see tremendous moral challenges resulting from advancements in technology. Many of these challenges such as data privacy are on for debate even now. I envision another major problem will result from the philosophical invocations of self driving cars—if the cars need to kill someone, who do they kill? I am very excited to explore these questions and many more in your class.

Please keep anonymous.

Katherine Hecht