The ViC team brings together people with diverse backgrounds. To get to know each other, we have set up a virtual reading room. Somewhat similar to a ‘reading course’, every week we pick old and new material from our research areas, current affairs, and beyond. Here’s a short list of selected material for the first ten weeks of our current project (Values-First SE). Please note that posting does not mean endorsing. Material presented may cover arguments and counter-arguments.
Week One – Studying Values
01 March 2018 – ViC looks into methods for the systematic investigation of values in software production with emphasis on the practitioner perspective. We value Friedman’s work on values sensitive design (VSD), yet we find Maio’s work more relevant to our current research objectives.
- Maio, G.R., 2010. Mental representations of social values. In Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 42, pp. 1-43). Academic Press.
- Friedman, B., Hendry, D.G. and Borning, A., 2017. A survey of value sensitive design methods. Foundations and Trends in Human–Computer Interaction, 11(2), pp.63-125.
- The Common Cause Foundation handbook outlines how they put Schwartz’s values model to work.
- Team ViC introductory publication: Ferrario, M.A., Simm, W., Forshaw, S., Gradinar, A., Smith, M.T. and Smith, I., 2016, May. Values-first SE: research principles in practice. In Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering Companion (ICSE ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 553-562. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2889160.2889219 [Authors’ copy]
Week Two – Software Engineering and Ethics
08 March 2018 – This week we compare the old and new ACM Code of Ethics. We then map the revised Code to Schwartz’s refined model of values. In doing so, we get one of our tools ready to be piloted by our partners. It is the ‘Values q-sort’ and TUW goes first.
- Gotterbarn, D., Miller, K. and Rogerson, S., 1999. Computer society and ACM approve software engineering code of ethics. Computer, 32(10), pp.84-88.
- Gotterbarn, D.W., Bruckman, A., Flick, C., Miller, K. and Wolf, M.J., 2018. ACM code of ethics: a guide for positive action.
- Stackoverflow Developers Survey includes responses about developers’ ethics
- IEEE Ethics in Action – The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems
- Ian Sommerville’s Software Engineering book, 10th Edition, 2015 – on going background reading.
Week Three – Values and Corporations
- Maitland report: The Values Most Valued by UK Plc, 2015
- B-Corp – “B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency”
Week Four – Software Personas
22 March 2018 – We revisit Alan Cooper’s classic book on personas (i.e. check his notes on ‘Polite Software’) , Grudin and Pruitt’s material, and Gaver et al.’s Cultural Probes . We also look at personality profiling approaches . We continue to prototype tools, our focus this week is on Software Personas.
- Cooper, A., 2004. The inmates are running the asylum: (why high-tech products drive us crazy and how to restore the sanity). Indianapolis: Sams.
- Pruitt, J. and Grudin, J., 2003, June. Personas: practice and theory. In Proceedings of the 2003 conference on Designing for user experiences (pp. 1-15). ACM.
Donnellan, M.B., Oswald, F.L., Baird, B.M. and Lucas, R.E., 2006. The mini-IPIP scales: tiny-yet-effective measures of the Big Five factors of personality. Psychological assessment, 18(2), p.192.
Week Six – The Metaphysical Roots of Computing
09 April 2018 – Time to dig up the metaphysical roots of software. We do so by examining the links between the binary system and ‘God’. We start with Leibniz, considered the father of the binary system, and the first computer scientist and information theorist.
- Booch, G., 2013. Deus ex Machina. IEEE Software, 30(6), pp.14-16.
Ryan, J.A., 1996. Leibniz Binary System and Shao Yong’s Yijing. Philosophy East and West, pp.59-90.
Knuth, D.E., 2001. Things a computer scientist rarely talks about. Stanford, CA: Csli Publications.
Week Seven – AI and Ethics
16 April 2018 – The UK Parliament argues that the UK is fit to be a global leader in Ethical AI. We also look at transhumanist values. And ponder.
- UK Parliament report: ‘AI in the UK: ready, willing and able?
- Key AI players and thinkers meet for the Beneficial AI (BAI) Conference, 2017 – includes presentations & videos. Basis for the ‘Asilomar AI Principles’
Bostrom, N., 2005. Transhumanist values. Journal of philosophical research, 30, pp.3-14.
- Demis Hassabis’s Radio 4 Desert Island Discs interview. Demis is founder of Deepmind. At ~23min and 38sec Demis talks about values in AI and reassures that things cannot really go wrong because expert are few and they all know each other. We stop and rewind.
Week Eight – Post Truth and Fact Checking
23 April 2018 – Much has been said about post-truth , but the University of Washington (UW) course on data science & fact checking truly shines. We read a couple of articles from the UW list, add O’Neil’s book to the list, and one of our own.
- Crawford, K., 2011. Six provocations for big data.
- Ferrario, M.A. F. and Forshaw, S., 2017, Tunneling Through Alternative Facts: The Qwand Problem Space Machine. In Proc. of the 2017 ACM Conference Companion Publication on Designing Interactive Systems (pp. 116-120). Adjunct blog post.
Week NINE – Infidels and Magic Sauces
30 April 2018 – This week is an exploration of a small selection of material suggested by colleagues from near and afar.
- Justin Joques, University of Michigan, brings an early draft of his “Infidel Mathematics” book to a workshop organised by the DCI, University of Toronto. The book is co-written with John Cheney-Lippold. The workshop is a three-hour exploration into the history and philosophy of statistics and the production of scientific knowledge. “Barad, K., 2007. Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Duke university Press.”, gets also a mention as we speak of Qwands and post-truth.
- ViC TUW visit earlier this April was followed by a generous list of resources. Some of this material focuses on ‘measuring’ personal values & traits as used, for example, for on-line morality debates or in personality prediction. Other material, such as Sarah Spiekermann’s book, focuses on values in design and the Ethics in digital innovation – here’s a related news article.
- Upon suggestion, we (re)watch Adam Curtis’ three-part documentary “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace” originally broadcasted by the BBC in 2011. In Part 2, Forrester’s ecosystem theory is examined and reported a mechanicistic view of nature. Good for putting the Computing within Limits workshop into context. ‘Limits’ was held at the ICT4S conference. Toronto, 13-19 May 2018.
Week Ten – Fairware, FAIRNESS and PRINCIPLES
7 May 2018 – “Be fair and take action not to discriminate.” says Principle 1.4 of the latest draft of the ACM Code of Ethics (Feb 2018). Alas, what is ‘fairness’? Can it be tested? Can it be measured? With the First International Workshop on Software Fairness at ICSE2018 only three weeks away, we read some of the organisers’ paper on Fairness Testing and then contrast it with Liu et al. view on fairness and ‘time’, noting the unintended consequences of treating fairness as a ‘static’ value.
Galhotra, S., Brun, Y. and Meliou, A., 2017, August. Fairness testing: testing software for discrimination. In Proceedings of the 2017 11th Joint Meeting on Foundations of Software Engineering (pp. 498-510). ACM.
- Also in the news, How to Teach to A Computer what Fair Means; related academic paper: Liu, L.T., Dean, S., Rolf, E., Simchowitz, M. and Hardt, M., 2018. Delayed Impact of Fair Machine Learning. arXiv preprint arXiv:1803.04383
While designing the ViC q-sort, we compared the old and the latest draft of the ACM Code of Ethics. We paused at the suggested changes to ‘Principle 1.2 Avoid Harm’. “Some respondents suggested that this principle was inconsistent with work in the military sector or law enforcement where some systems are designed, in part, to cause harm” The current version of the ACM Code now states that unintentional harm must be avoided. We ponder: can intentional harm be ethical? We are not sure.
Suchman, L., Follis, K., & Weber, J. (2017). Tracking and Targeting: Sociotechnologies of (In)security. Science, Technology and Human Values, 42 (6), 983 [pre-print]