I590 Data and Society

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Info I590 Data and Society is a graduate course that introduces technically-trained students to the social, political, and ethical aspects of data science work. It is designed to create reflective practitioners who are able to think critically about how collecting, aggregating, and analyzing data are social processes, and processes that affect people. It is structured as a lecture course with an emphasis on class discussion. Course objectives include teaching students: I. Ethical theories and frameworks, and how to apply them in the context of the data science profession; II. To recognize how social contexts and human values shape the creation of data sets, algorithms, and models;  III. To identify emergent ethical challenges in data science. Students will also be asked to consider whether, or to what extent, data science should be professionally regulated, and how they view their obligation to those who produce the data that data scientists collect and analyze. Grades are based on a midterm exam, final project, class participation, and homework assignments given throughout the semester. Students are  expected to complete assigned readings prior to class and express their ideas in writing.