ETHICS, COMPUTING AND AI | PERSPECTIVES FROM MIT
Foreword | Melissa Nobles
"The commentaries in this series implore us to be collaborative, foresighted, and courageous as we shape a new college, and to proceed with judicious humility. Rightly so. We are embarking on an endeavor that will influence nearly every aspect of the human future."
— Melissa Nobles, Kenan Sahin Dean, and Professor of Political Science, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Melissa Nobles is Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research and teaching have focused on the comparative study of racial and ethnic politics, and issues of retrospective justice. She is the author of Shades of Citizenship: Race and the Census in Modern Politics (Stanford University Press, 2000), and The Politics of Official Apologies, (Cambridge University Press, 2008).
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What kind of world do we want to make? Will the future be humane and livable? Will it be fair and just? What knowledge and values can sustain and guide us?
The launch of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing offers an extraordinary new opportunity for the MIT community to respond to today’s most consequential questions in ways that serve the common good.
To support ongoing conversations about how to do this, my office invited faculty from all five MIT schools to offer perspectives on the role of ethics in computing and AI. The insights in this publication — drawn from expertise in fields as diverse as moral philosophy, biology, history, engineering, and literature — also sound some common themes:
that the practice of computing is a human endeavor, one that — like all human endeavors — can be used for good or ill; that the humanistic disciplines are deep resources for research and education about societal and ethical issues; that we envision an MIT culture in which all of us are equipped and encouraged to think about the social and ethical implications of new research and new technologies.
These commentaries also implore us to be collaborative, foresighted, and courageous as we shape a new college, and to proceed with judicious humility. Rightly so. We are embarking on an endeavor that will influence nearly every aspect of the human future.
Melissa Nobles named dean of SHASS
Political scientist and department head to lead School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.
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Head of political science at MIT says understanding the past is a source for social innovation in our own time.
Series prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Office of Dean Melissa Nobles
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Series Editor and Designer: Emily Hiestand, Communication Director
Series Co-Editor: Kathryn O'Neill, Assoc News Manager, SHASS Communications
Published 18 February 2019