30555 - DIGITAL ETHICS SEMINAR
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 27
Class-group lessons delivered on campus
Digital technologies offer many benefits to individuals and society, and have brought about substantial changes in personal relations, style of life and individual capabilities. At the same time, digital technologies give rise to important ethical issues. In a number of circumstances, the implementation of digital technologies may generate unfair consequences, makes accountability opaque, and does not meet the requirement of transparency. To address these issues, specific paths of reasoning and evaluations are needed. The mission of this seminar is to introduce to the students the main problems and methods of digital ethics, seen as a branch of applied ethics.
The seminar consists of four sessions. In each session, a specific aspect of digital ethics will be addressed and discussed in class, based on one or more case studies. The seminar session will be focused on the following subjects:
1. Basics of moral reasoning and moral decision-making (case study: the trolley problem in the digital world);
2. Digital technologies and accountability (case study: ethics of immersive technologies and virtual reality);
3. Digital technologies and uncertainty (case studies: risk assessment and bias in the evaluation of digital technologies);
4. Privacy and data protection (case studies: Cambridge Analytica, gender discrimination through the social media).
- think critically about ethical issues arising in the digital world;
- apply correct forms of moral argumentation in concrete cases;
- master the ethical skills that are needed to enhance professional responsibility in the field of digital technologies.
- identify the moral implications of technological options, and to evaluate them on the basis of various forms of moral reasoning;
- provide a justified answer to the moral problems considered in the case studies;
- evaluate the risk of a digital innovation in the light of the requirements of professional accountability.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
- Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
In addition to one-on-one lectures, the seminar will include the presentation of a leading case in which the use of digital technologies gives rise to ethical issues. The case will then be discussed in class and alternative solutions to the ethical problems in question will be critically explored.
At the end of each session of the seminar, a decision-making situation will be simulated in class, and each student will be called upon to suggest a course of action that comply with a set of ethical requirements.
- Individual report on a case study
- Partecipation to class discussion
- The individual report is designed to test how students master the main problems and methods of digital ethics, as well as to prove their ability to practice specific paths of reasoning;
- The participation to class discussion is designed to test students' ability to practice specific paths of reasoning, as well as their interaction with pairs.
- Short essay on an assigned topic
- The short essay for non attending students is designed to test the students' ability to identify and address ethical issues in the field of digital technologies.
Textbook and other materials will be communicated before the seminar gets started.