CSE4317 Individual Presentation Topics

Computer Ethics

  1. Tools for monitoring and filtering access to the Internet. Numerous tools are available for filtering Internet content (especially for children) and monitoring Internet activity for maintaining security and on-the-job productivity. Report on the tools available in this area and arguments for or against there use in a public setting.

  2. Free speech and the Internet. Protecting our right to free speech is a constant battle, and no less a battle in the realm of the Internet. As with traditional battles over free speech, we are forced to consider the protected status of questionable materials (e.g., pornography) or the propaganda of "hate" groups. Report on the status of free speech protection and the Internet and the censoring restrictions applicable to individuals and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

  3. Customer profiling based on web activity. Most Internet-based companies maintain sophisticated customer profiles in order to identify trends in purchasing activity. A good example are the products recommended by amazon.com based on others who bought similar products. Some websites use cookies to analyze your click-stream as you navigate through their websites. Report on the use of customer profiling by Internet-based companies along with the security and privacy issues involved.

  4. Ethical reservations about intelligent machines. In an April 2000 article in Wired Magazine entitled "Why the future doesn't need us," Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, urges scientists to consider the ethical implications of increasingly powerful computers with increasing intelligence. Joy warns that soon the machines may have no need for us. Report on the validity of his arguments and those of his opponents. Also report on the ethical issues related to developing intelligent machines.

  5. Computer technology and depersonalization. Many social scientists warn that the increasing proliferation of technology is removing the need to socialize with fellow humans. The resulting depersonalization may have serious social and psychological effects on both the technologically savvy and the technologically illiterate. Report on the depersonalization risks involved with today's technology and assess the validity of the warnings.

  6. Academic dishonesty in computer science and engineering. Most computer science and engineering students cite cheating as the number one ethical dilemma with university programs. Adding to the problem are the increasing number of websites offering tools to make cheating easier and even other students' work for free are at a small price. Report on the extent of the academic dishonesty problem in U.S. colleges and universities, the Internet resources available to either aid or catch cheaters, and possible solutions to the problem.