CS050 Information & Computation: History & Ethics
Fall 2008

(updated 10/24/2008)

Questions Generated by the Class

Technology

Why are computers so important in our lives?
Does God want us to continue technology advancement?  (Many relationships are impersonal due to technology.)
How can we use computers to aid us where we are truly needy?  (e.g., growth in faith, love, helping repair misery, . . . .)
How are we to protect privacy . . . .?

Epistemology

Is there a limit to knowledege?
Why do we want to learn?
What does it mean to learn?
How does information relate to knowledeg?  to copyright?
If the universe is made up of information, is what we know, see, and feel real?  Or have we created this all up in our minds?  What is truly real?
Why does some information always strike me as surprising (or valuable) even when I've been made aware of it over and over?  (e.g., the constancy of God, the crucifixion and salvation)

Ethics

Is there ever one specific ethical code to follow?
Does my human nature want to always be ethical or only when I gain from it?
How can I follow the ethical way when the other less ethical way is better and more accepted?
Are illegal acts always immoral?
What do my ethical values really look like?  (Do I have different layers of values?  How many of them contradict or conflict others?)
As Christians how should we question authority and follow its given laws?  When is it right to protest and rethink what we are told and when should we just accept it as the authority God has placed in our lives at the moment?
What are the ethical implications of "illegal" downloading of "copyrighted" applications?  Does it hinder or help the companies that create the software?
How do we decide on a good copyright law if we are following different ethical theories?

Copyright

What is the implication of how copyright was developed on how we view it now and whether or not it should be rethought?
What role should ownership take in a Christian's life?  (Yes everything is God's and Jesus didn't own anything, but Jesus did rely on people who did have property, so how should we view our ownership of material things?
It seems that copyright, historically, didn't look anything like people want today.  Why then do we not just redefine copyright and get on with our lives?
Do the current copyright policies deed to undergo drastic change or minor change?
Are the current policies more beneficial for the author or creator of a work or, for other parties such as the publisher?
In the early stages of copyright, why was the author treated so poorly? (If no one writes, there's nothing to sell.)
How do economics factor into copyright and ethics?
If computers started creating (useful, valuable), how would that change copyright?
What is the Printers' Right?
How would copyright be different without the Stationers' Copyright?
How did the Stationers' Copyright view information vs. knowledge?
Is there a viable [alternative] to copyright as it is?
How did the Queen back away from interfering with publishing? (The book wasn't that clear.)
Can information be owned?  If it can, should it?
Should copyright be based on the author's right or the publisher's right, or both?
Is copyright constricting the flow of information?  Is it doing more harm than good?

On Being Human and Artificial Intelligence

Could we ever develop technology that could "debug" our brains or brain patterns?
What if Douglas Adams is right and we are not the most intelligent species on Earth?
What will the ramifications be if we start having to treat computers as [persons]?
What is the meaning of life?
What is the relationship between humanity (created in the image of God) and creativity?
Does anyone honestly believe that a computer could ever feel the way I do about her?
Should we give computers emotions?  How much power [would] that give them?
If computers were to ever break free from their limitations, couldn't you program them to think and respond like a dead human?  (Maybe see how they rationalized their decisions, e.g., Hitler, Stalin, Einstein.)
How far have we come with AI?  How far do we have yet to go, before we must face the ethcial issues of building something that is capable of rational thought?

Education

Are you hoping that we come up with radically new points of view or just somewhat adhere to the textbooks?
When you are evaluating our inputs, what are the tools you use besides logic and the Bible?
How valuable is this education if I plan to never write a short paper, analyze Mark, or write a sorting algorithm after college?
What will ultimately be accomplished in this class?
Why this class?  (i.e., why is it worth studying copyright?)
Why do you want us to ask questions?
What should I be taking from this class?  How am I (or could I) contribute to the class?
How soon will computers be indistinguishable from humans?  (Should we go there?)

Creativity

Why are art and creative processes important? What does the act of expression do for people?  For machines?
How creating something give you a right to own it?
Is it [implied] that if you create something, you have control of it?

General

How can I use what was learned at the start of the semester to improve myself as an individual?
Do I irritate you by not being able to come up with a third [question] quickly enough?  [No. --wfi]
Why are we here?
Where are we going?