3 Questions: The social implications and responsibilities of computing
In helping envision the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, working group is focusing on ethical and societal questions.
The success of this is contingent on learning how to speak the same language across disciplines and creating new educational and research paths together. This needs to be set up as a deep collaboration and a live field of study.
— Julie Shah, associate professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and head of the Interactive Robotics Group of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Since February, five working groups have been generating ideas about the form and content of the new MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing. That includes the Working Group on Social Implications and Responsibilities of Computing, co-chaired by Melissa Nobles, the Kenan Sahin Dean of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and a professor of political science, and Julie Shah, associate professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT and head of the Interactive Robotics Group of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. MIT News talked to Shah about the group’s progress and goals to this point.
Q: What are the main objectives of this working group?
A: The goals of the working group are to think about how we can weave social and ethical considerations into the fabric of what the college is doing. That includes our educational mission, our research mission, and how we engage externally. The pull for this right now is enormous. We need to deal with these issues, which are very complex. No single person here at MIT has a full handle on the needs of society. A key challenge is to think about how we close that cross-disciplinary gap, to talk with and engage people in different disciplines.