Writing 09: What’s Mine is Not Yours

I do think it is unethical to use pirated copyrighted materials however, I am someone who benefits from them, saving money on textbooks, music, or streaming services. I don’t think I do this maliciously and I think it is better that I don’t distribute these pirated materials to others. Everytime I use something pirated, I do feel guilty for not paying for someone’s work so I try to avoid these things and use the services that get approval to use materials. I think it is unfair to those who created the material to not pay for it and violate their copyrights. As we discussed in class, most people do this and people always send our computer science book pdfs in our GroupMe chat as a way to save money. I think it is wrong to pirate copyrighted material but I do it because I think I do it on such a small scale I am not harming many people. 

I think patents are necessary and beneficial to society. While the readings this week about patent trolls, specifically on EFF, opened my eyes to the harm they can have on people, small businesses specifically, I still think they are very necessary. It is necessary for people to catch violations of patents, in order to protect the inventor’s idea, however, I think it is unethical of people to dedicate themselves to being patents trolls. I think it would be appropriate for companies with patents to have a team to look for violations of their patents but I don’t think patent trolls act with good intentions or ethically. Patents are necessary to prevent any stealing and protect people and their creations. I do recognize that is can seem unfair for small businesses that have to carefully maneuver to avoid expensive litigations from infringing on patents but it is important to have strict ownership over your ideas and creations in order to make money and avoid your ideas being taken. I think there needs to be improvements on the patent system since it currently limits innovation to this licensing system and it’s hard for smaller companies to afford to know what patents they are entitled to and which they could/are infringing on. I think there should be more care taken in deciding who is given a patent so that big companies with more resources do not create some sort of monopoly over patents and there is more scrutiny over whether an idea is really unique or too close to another.

I think open source is great especially in our field. I think it raises concerns because developers are not always focused on being completely responsible with what they are using from others. I personally don’t think I was given clear information in classes about what I was allowed to take from others and what I wasn’t since so many things we do in some classes have already been done by others. After this week’s discussions I will be more proactive and careful with what I am using and giving credit to the creators.

Ethics Writing 08: Artificial Intelligence

I think artificial intelligence should be feared and embraced. It can make our lives easier and make chores more convenient but we should be cautious about using it because of how powerful it can be. Things like AlphaGo and Watson are demonstrations of the potential power artificial intelligence can have. While they are fun to see and fascinating, they are also scary in the way they are very similar to humans. Since artificial intelligence cannot allow a computer to experience emotions the same way humans do, one robot sci-fi movie will show you how this can manifest horribly in the future. While I have these fears for how artificial intelligence technology can be used in the wrong hands, I also love the results of automation I’ve seen in my life. I frequent Panera, and I love the iPad kiosks where I can order for myself since I know how they function and can do it more easily than telling a cashier all of my customizations. I also appreciate having the ability to get anything delivered to me through Amazon in two days. I definitely recognize the negative side effects of these convenient additions to my life, the loss of jobs of many middle class workers, but I’m not sure how to solve this since everyone want their lives to be easier and more convenient. I appreciate these conveniences but also appreciate interacting with human cashiers at other restaurants and touching and shopping for things at stores instead of ordering online. We have gotten used to these perks in our lives but do not rely on most of them and can easily live without them. I think companies should think through how new technology in AI will impact the greater society and economy.

I hope our world does not become fully automated where robots are making our burgers and everything else we eat and you order everything through the internet. I don’t think the benefits are worth harm and cost it would have on our economy. I don’t think it is worth the money saving benefits to have driverless trucks because it would replace the most common job in the United States. Automations and improvements in artificial intelligence like this do not seem worth the spikes in unemployment. Where are these workers supposed to go? Will every blue collar and repetitive job become automated? Will my college education even be enough? If our field is really oversaturated with workers from around the world, how can I differentiate myself from them and these machines? I don’t think automation is a solution to every small task we have to do. Will we all become too lazy to do anything for ourselves and need a machine to do it all for us? Was Wall-E right? I personally could not work in robotics, which I consider the field of replacing workers. They may be only helping workers do their jobs now but what is the next generation of their robot assistants going to look like? Probably exactly like the workers.


Writing 07: Censorship

I think the internet is a public service so fair access should be a right of people with the means to have access. I think that private companies should still have the right to control what content they want to be limited, restricted, or regulated. I think it would be best to only allow companies that charge a fee for their services to set regulations. So, a website you pay a subscription to could control the content that they allow on their website and could control what they allow users to do. However, Google, for example, wouldn’t be able to control what certain people do or see on their platforms since they offer all free services. Things like search engines are necessary and fundamental to the internet and should be unlimited for all users. I believe this means these private companies that users sign up for and pay to use can limit the uses of their services. While some might think this limits free speech, if users are choosing to use these services and don’t agree with limitations set on them, they can choose other platforms or services. If essential aspects of the internet are still equally available and unlimited to all users, then this should not actually limit free speech. 

I do think censorship online should be limited and avoided when it can but I believe that companies that are nonessential to the functionality of the internet should have the right to censor users. It is important to have all perspectives and opinions available so that people are aware of other peoples’ perspectives and opinions, especially those not like their own. I do think it is fine for these smaller platforms to try to prevent things like terrorism or hate on their sites. I also think it is acceptable for companies to remove what they want whether it’s negative opinions of the government, terrorism, hate, or oposing opinions. I think it makes sense and is fair for companies to not promote competition. It is expected that a company would promote themselves on their platform and promote their other products over those of their competition. Why would Donald Trump promote democratic ideas or beliefs on his own website? 

To help solve problems of hate or terror on the internet, the government could put in place overarching regulations across the internet. As the most objective actor in this situation (compared to private companies with their own agendas) the government setting regulations would allow for consistency in rules on the internet. However, I think instead companies can protect their users from things they believe are wrong and want to prevent by either removing it completely or warning users. If there were warnings to protect or warn users of fake news or hateful information, this could help prevent a need for online censorship. I am concerned about online censorship and not having access to all information and becoming unaware of other viewpoints or things to be worried about but I also don’t think the internet is the only outlet for free speech.

Writing 06: Corporate Conscious

I think corporations cannot be thought of as exactly “people”. While they are given many of the same rights as individual persons and are considered people under the law, they cannot be held to the same standards as humans since they don’t have exactly the same rights. People should act morally and ethically but are not forced to unless they do something that breaks the law. Corporations should be expected to act similarly but do not have as many laws and regulations on what they do. Corporations should be held to the same high moral and ethical standards as people but ultimately are allowed to act unethically if they choose to. It is up to a corporation to maintain its reputation and they should be allowed to do business with whomever they want, create products they want, or act immorally as long as it follows laws and regulations they fall under. Of course I do not hope corporations will act unethically but it is up to consumers to decide which companies to do business with and hopefully unethical behavior or partnerships won’t be tolerated. I do think businesses should refrain from doing business with immoral or unethical organizations or persons but if there are not regulations/laws to prevent this I think they should be allowed to. It is up to the leadership in a company, or the person/people who decide which companies and people the company works with, to decide what is moral and ethical for that company and what their threshold is for these partnerships.

I believe the government is responsible for keeping an even playing field for companies. It is dangerous when a company becomes too powerful, whether through being big or not. Monopolies are dangerous since they prevent any competition and can set prices however they want. I think they should stay illegal since they give one corporation too much power and control over the market and since there aren’t as many regulations and laws forcing companies to act morally, this can become very dangerous. This is becoming more and more difficult since tech giants are growing so quickly that the government cannot understand and keep up with the changes. These tech giants are innovating so much that it is hard for everyone to understand everything they’re doing and therefore harder to regulate these things. It could be beneficial to break them up or find other ways to regulate. Companies should be more heavily regulated to prevent these dangerous giants/monopolies. Business decisions can often lead to making immoral or unethical decisions in order to make a profit. This is why it is dangerous to give so much freedom to companies to make these decisions about morality. There are some laws that decide if what a corporation does is right, but I believe there should be even more in order to protect consumers. It is necessary to ensure fair competition between companies and it is up to the government to do this since companies are focused on making money, not helping or promoting anyone else.

Writing 05: Privacy vs. Security

I think in general it’s not good to have the government watching and recording us. “Big Brother” can lead to censorship, limit free speech, and limit personal liberties. People aren’t as likely to speak their mind if Big Brother is watching, especially if what you’re saying is critical of the government. I personally do not think I have much to hide but I think it’s a problem and am concerned that it’s becoming more intrusive and more widespread. If I know Trump were reading my texts, for example, or had the ability to see them, that would keep me from speaking freely. While I do recognize the security benefits of having surveillance everywhere and being able to solve or prevent crimes or terrorism etc., I do not think it is acceptable to be under constant surveillance. The government should not surveil people without their knowledge, like in the NSA/Snowden case we discussed. In my opinion, we cannot be truly free when we are under constant surveillance.


It is difficult to draw the line between privacy and security, while I don’t think we should be under constant surveillance, I do see the security benefit to having eyes almost everywhere to potentially prevent crimes or terror attacks. However, when this technology and constant watching leads to something like locating illegal immigrants, not considering the other issues with it I mentioned before, it crosses the line of not leaving us with privacy. I think the government’s next step would be to be more transparent about how we are being monitored and what their security justification is for it. I think it’s unrealistic to expect the government to stop all surveillance but being more open about the benefits of it could be beneficial.


I think technology companies are responsible for protecting their users’ privacy. Since private companies are not owned or run by the government, they shouldn’t be giving our information to them. I think these companies should have practices in place to prevent harmful activities on their platforms, programs or initiatives for anti-bullying or anti-terror that kick those users off their platforms or have some monitoring for harmful things like these. While this could be some type of surveillance from companies on their users, they are private companies and users are willingly signing up for their products/services. However, in the case of government surveillance, we do not sign a terms and conditions agreement like we do with most technologies. Tech companies may have vagues statements about data collection but they at least give some type of disclaimer to users while the government does not. The engineers and developers at tech companies must consider their own privacy when developing products. Would they want this data about themselves to be recorded or monitored. I think government officials making surveillance decisions should ask themselves similar questions. Putting themselves in the shoes of the people they are watching, imagining themselves as an illegal immigrant and being deported because you were found on a security camera, they could make better decisions centered around personal privacy.

Writing 04: Whistleblowing

Engineering accidents are not merely accidents but the result of poor engineering processes and management. Poor engineering processes leading to a failure is the responsibility of the management since they are responsible for how project run and with what processes. Since so many engineering projects directly impact human life (as seen in the bridge examples in class and Therac-25 and Challenger readings) there need to be more checks on engineering implementations because of the severe consequences a mistake can cause. The management also needs to take bugs and failures more seriously than we saw in the big mistakes of the Challenger and Therac machines, if the erosion and injuries had been considered more severe than the management did, the deaths could have been prevented.


Engineers are obligated to speak the truth to an extent. If there are problems that could cause failures in what they’re working on or there are injustices happening, they should speak up in the appropriate manner. The truth/problem should be shared with the proper channels in order to fix the problem and it shouldn’t be shared with the public unless necessary. It is difficult to make a decision about whistleblowing but I think that proper channels should always be used. In the case of Manning, he/she should have communicated his issues with the injustices he was seeing with his superior, following the military’s chain of command, since there are ways for whistleblowers to report abuses. If his superior didn’t listen, care, or was the cause of the problem, he could contact his congressman. There are better channels to release confidential information like through a credible news outlet, releasing information on the condition that confidential parts wouldn’t be shared. This was the case with the Pentagon Papers and can allow injustices to be made public when necessary to fix them without breaching his security clearance. Manning ultimately released sensitive information that could help our enemies which makes him a traitor. I can understand why he felt the videos/information needed to be shared with the public but he shouldn’t have gone about it in the way that he did since he created a threat to national security.


I’m not saying that whistleblowing is inherently wrong, but if it is necessary, it should be done through the proper channels to prevent more harm than the abuses being reported. Whistleblowing can hurt the person who does it but can benefit the greater good and public when they have knowledge of certain injustices. There are some cases where breaking the law can be necessary for the betterment of society and for justice through whistleblowing. Knowledge of injustice is not always a good thing, especially when it is something that you personally, or in general, cannot fix. The government has a lot of corruption but I do not think I need to know everything that is wrong with the government since I couldn’t change it and it is not directly harming me, in general. In this case I’d say innocence is bliss and I wouldn’t want a whistleblower to reveal injustices that I can’t do anything about.

Writing 03: Diversity, Codes of Conduct

I think the computing and technology communities need to improve their diversity. Diversity includes racial, gender, socioeconomic diversity but also diversity in perspective which comes from diversity of experiences. So, this can mean people who had siblings, played sports, were religious, etc. because all of these people had different experiences and have different perspectives. Diversity like this, pulling people from all different walks of life considering different categories, creates a much more creative environment due to the wide variety of perspectives. People who are different not only create an innovative environment but also open each others minds to new ways of thinking which can have deeper, positive impacts on society. Exposing people to others who are not like them or who disagree with them forces them to see other perspectives and even can make them more empathetic to other opinions and experiences. At the same time, I think it is important to have groups represented in more than just one person. Having people who are part of the same “group” as you can be important to your success. Whether you identify most with people of the same race or gender or who are interested in the same video games as you, having people you can relate to and feel are “like” you is essential. No one wants to feel alone or like they don’t have anyone like them so it is important to have decent representation from many groups. You like people who are like you in some way and that can vary by person depending on which part of their identity they identify most with.


I haven’t directly felt excluded from the computing industry. For me, it is extremely intimidating as an industry to be in mainly because there are not many women and because many CS students and professionals eat, sleep, and breath CS/tech so are doing it during their free time and know a lot more than I do. I identify with people of the same gender as me and who have a similar level of knowledge. I wouldn’t have noticed this if it weren’t for these feelings of being out of place and trying to find a group. I noticed, since I’ve found CS to be very difficult, that I tend to surround myself with students who are female and who struggle as much as I do (usually meeting them in office hours even when the homework “isn’t hard”). I personally haven’t felt excluded from being in this major. I think just the fact that there aren’t as many girls in the major and I have found that I tend to prefer to do homework with other girls, has made me aware of the lack of female presence. 


I think in professional settings there should be Codes of Conduct and rules about what people can and cannot say. Employees should be expected to self-censor since without it, employees become unprofessional and create uncomfortable or hostile environments that kill productivity and can be harmful to people. While we have a right to free speech, I think a company has a right to limit what you can discuss while at work in the benefit of the company and health/safety of other employees. I have worked with other employees who discussed sex and rated other employees on a hottness scale and I found these conversations to be very uncomfortable especially worrying me about who would hear. I think it is difficult to censor especially if you are friends with coworkers and especially as college students or interns. This censorship is not oppressive but instead promotes a healthier work environment fostering creativity and comfort.


Writing 02: Employment

I think the hiring process in technology is broken. The techniques most companies use to test applicants are ineffective or rigged against some candidates. Things like asking for references or looking at a student’s GPA while also looking for projects done outside of the classroom are not reasonable ways to demonstrate how someone will perform in a job since people would only give people who will speak highly of them and student’s GPAs can suffer if they focus more on outside projects. Many techniques also require luck or having a good day. I appreciated the article we read, “Hiring is Broken and Yours is Too”, that called out all of the techniques companies use because I have found a lot of these things to be hard for me to succeed in and it seems impossible to be good at everything since a lot depends on luck. I think it is very hard to do projects on the side and keep up with my school work and retain everything I’ve learned in class. I have also found a lot of companies looking for candidates with experience with specific technologies which is difficult to have already since we do not learn every technology in school and most things people will be doing at work are learned on the job or in training. So, I think companies should be looking more for people who can think and learn well not who have specific skills/experiences.

I have found it difficult to prepare for the hiring process and hard to easily find resources to help me prepare. I know a lot of my friends in Mendoza have clubs and mentors to teach them how to network/what to say to a recruiter and how to succeed in the different interviews or tests they could have. I have also found the resources that CS majors have access to, like the technology representative in the Career Center, to not hold up to the same standards as the business resources. I haven’t felt like I receive enough or the right quality support in my job search here so I tend to rely on friends or family for help.

As we discussed in class, non-competes prevent workers from salary negotiations since someone couldn’t go to a competitor and use a job offer as a negotiation point. They also limit job mobility and could warn/prevent workers from becoming experts in one field since they would become stuck in their job. While non-competes do ultimately protect companies, in the current employment climate, non-compete agreements are abusive, last too long and apply to too many companies/industries.

The hiring process in technology, like in other industries, is rather efficient. Each year it seems companies start recruiting earlier and they expect answers soon after extending offers. While their techniques might not always be effective, it is difficult to find other strategies to find the best candidates and ignore things like connections I do think the overall hiring process in technology is ethical but I don’t have a solution to the broken hiring system.


Writing 01: A Notre Dame Identity

The images of a hacker or programmer we discussed in class of an unhygienic man in a dark basement, living off chips and mountain dew, never wanting to leave his computer are what most people I know expect from someone in computer science. I do think that this image of a programmer is becoming more and more rejected by the computer science community and we are projecting a more collaborative image as seen in our reading “Mark Zuckerberg’s Letter To Investor: ‘The Hacker Way’”. Those who work in teams tend to produce better work and are more likely to generate new ideas. Computer scientists with interests other than coding bring a different perspective to programming and can see a greater purpose in their work. I also don’t think I fit into the hacker stereotype at all, I prefer to be in a collaborative environment when working and pursue other passions of mine. I don’t constantly want to be coding, it’s really just something I find fascinating and enjoy as my major. I do see it as more of a means to an end and while I do enjoy it to other possible “means” I focus more on the end result of what I can create with coding and the purpose of my work. I find the meaning or problem I’m solving in work to be more a part of my identity than the fact that I can code.

People assume many things about students at Notre Dame including that we are all white, from a suburb of Chicago, come from a wealthy family, have at least one family member who went here, and are Catholic. I cannot reject these stereotypes because the majority of students here do fit into many, or at least one, of these stereotypes. I do fit into some of these stereotypes, being white and from a family that is able to support me, and am not ashamed to but I do wish the image of Notre Dame students were focused on who we are and how Notre Dame shapes us, instead of these superficial images even though it is true. A Notre Dame Computer Science and Engineering graduate thinks more broadly than his/her technical field and his/her impact on the world or greater community. The First Year of studies forces Notre Dame CS graduates to be exposed to more subjects than most students studying CS at other universities.

As we saw in class, Notre Dame is one of many schools with more students in the top 1% than the bottom 60%, which is something I didn’t consider when picking where I went to college. I can’t fault people for fitting into one of the Notre Dame stereotypes but I do think that this lack of economic, and other diversity at Notre Dame does hinder Notre Dame in its mission to educate the “whole” person. While I do agree that the First Year of studies and core requirements partially accomplish this by exposing students to different subjects and ways of thinking, not having a diverse student body has an impact on how Notre Dame students develop and creates a large gap in perspective and opinion. I have met a lot of closed minded people here and I think a lot of assumptions people make about those who are different than them (whether in ways of thinking or physically) comes from ignorance and lack of exposure to people who aren’t like them. I believe Notre Dame needs to strive to have a more diverse, equal, and just campus.



Writing 00: Am I too self-centered?

I don’t believe I use a specific framework when I determine if an action is right or wrong however, after reading the reading “A Framework for Making Ethical Decisions” I do seem to fit into a more egoistic approach of decision making. I do think I definitely use a consequentialist approach, looking at future impacts of my actions to produce the most good. I typically see actions as “right” based on my self-interests and ensure the most “pleasure” or a positive outcome for myself, my family, and my friends. I am more deliberate with the outcomes I desire and focus on the future effects of what I do.

When decisions are not specifically about my direct life I do attempt to benefit the greater good, and make a conscious effort to give back in ways that benefit a greater population than the one I just described. I think a balance between these two ways of acting, egoistic and based on the common good approach, is essential because I am the only person who will put myself first a majority of the time so I decide when my own life and happiness is more important to me than others’ and the greater good. Of course, I try to not only make these selfish decisions, otherwise I would be ostracized in most societies, so if I am willing to withstand the possible negative impact of some actions, right and wrong, then I will do those things. I do feel a responsibility to communities I am a part of to act in socially “right” ways but I will justify an action to be right if I believe it’s best for me. 

I would like to choose a line of work that benefits the greater good in my work. I do think my personal “pleasure” would increase more from stopping or revealing unethical work at my job instead of not doing the ethical thing and potentially choosing to keep my job instead of the greater society impacted by my place of work. Therefore, I think I would ultimately choose actions in a greater good approach due to my priorities being egoistic in nature. I think that technology can benefit so many people and increase the common good so I think I need to make sure I am conscious of the ethical or moral impacts of my actions and the company I work for. I think acting at work in the same way I act in other communities will be a way for me to apply these frameworks to that part of my life.

I think creating a safe product requires more than just technical expertise and ability but also a moral and ethical responsibility to making decisions for the greater good of society. This applies specifically to self driving cars and our conversation about the decision to of an autonomous car to kill the driver or a group of people in the road, when forced to choose one. People designing such cars not only have to build a car capable of driving itself but also a car that makes ethical decisions. So, these people need a wider set of skills, something I think Notre Dame teaches along with the technical skill.

One of my talents would be everything I’ve learned in classes at Notre Dame, so the technical knowledge I have learned, specifically about computer science. I also have a talent in the person I have become since attending Notre Dame. I believe that Notre Dame educates the whole person, making us ethically and morally aware of how we can impact others/the world. Learning how I impact others and seeing the world from a consequentialist framework, is essential for a career in technology for the ethical and moral challenges that will arise in the near future. Many of these issues surrounding artificial intelligence and bias in machine learning will need to be solved by technology professionals.

I ultimately do try to be an ethically moral person but I strive for my own happiness first. I think to be ethically responsible is to recognize and try to act upon things that will have a positive change in the world. Being ethically responsible is fulfilling a civic duty to your greater community and the world so that your actions benefit the whole society. You must ensure your actions are ethical before acting.