Omidyar Network, the Mozilla Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies have announced grants totaling $2.47 million in support of efforts to integrate ethical thinking into undergraduate computer science curricula.
Seventeen programs were named winners of the Responsible Computer Science Challenge, an initiative developed with the aim of mitigating negative unintended consequences of technology and ensuring that tech products released to the public have robust "guardrails" with respect to responsibility and accountability. Stage-one winners will receive up to $150,000 each to develop and pilot their ideas and will have an opportunity to compete for additional funding of up to $200,000 to spread and scale their ideas.
Winners include Georgetown University, where the computer science department will collaborate with the university's ethics lab to create interactive student experiences that illuminate how ethics and computer science interact; Miami Dade College, which will work to integrate collaborations between local nonprofits and government agencies; and Bowdoin College, which will engage students in "ethical narratives laboratories" to create experiences for students and explore how technology affects society at large.
"Today's computer scientists write code with the potential to affect billions of people's privacy, security, equality, and well-being," said Kathy Pham, a computer scientist and Mozilla Fellow who is co-leading the challenge. "These seventeen winners recognize that power, and take crucial steps to work across disciplines and integrate ethics and responsibility into core courses, like introduction to programming, algorithms, compilers, computer architecture, neural networks, and data structures. By deeply integrating ethics into computer science curricula and sharing the content openly, we can create more responsible technology from the start."
For a complete list of Responsible Computer Science Challenge winners, see the ON website.