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McKelvey School of Engineering

Using Science Fiction to Teach Computer Ethics: Model Class

Friday, October 8, 2021 | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Henry A. and Elvira H. Jubel Hall, Jubel 121

Dr. Judy Goldsmith
Professor of Computer Science, University of Kentucky

In this talk/class hybrid, Goldsmith will present a brief argument for using science fiction to teach computer ethics, and an enlightening overview of three principle Western ethical frameworks (utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and deontology).  She will give a brief overview of the story, Today I am Paul, by Martin Shoemaker.  The audience will then break into groups and each group will discuss the ethics of the characters' choices in the story.  There will be a brief report-back period and summary of the relevant computer science themes.  Goldsmith will then lead a discussion of how to generalize this experience to a real class, as well as mention of non-Western ethics frameworks as time allows.  There is no expectation of prior familiarity with science fiction or computer ethics!  Participants/attendees are strongly encouraged to read the story prior to the colloquium.

Event Type



McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology

Computer Science & Engineering


Event Contact


Speaker Information

Dr. Judy Goldsmith received her degrees in Mathematics from Princeton University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She held post-doc at Dartmouth College and Boston University, an assistant professorship at the University of Manitoba, and has been in the Computer Science Department of the University of Kentucky since 1993. She is a full professor.  Her research is primarily in AI, especially Computational Social Choice, with forays into social network theory and computer ethics pedagogy.  She served on the editorial board of JAIR since 2008, and on the editorial board of Artificial Intelligence from 2015, and is now an associate editor. She has co-edited special issues of Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence ('14), International Journal on Approximate Reasoning, and AI Magazine ('08).

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