Complete the reading and watch the lectures from Weeks 8-11 before starting this assignment.(There’s no week 9 it was spring break)
Over the last 15 years, people have come to rely increasingly on social media and other algorithmically curated systems for access to information. What news we read, which current events we learn about, the kinds of videos we watch, whose social media posts are prioritized as we scroll—all of these determinations are made not by news editors or even by us; they’re made by the algorithms powering Facebook’s and Instagram’s feeds, YouTube’s and TikTok’s recommender systems, Twitter’s timeline, and so on.
Here are the overarching questions to consider in this essay: (1) Responding to Marcuse, to what extent do social media algorithms contribute to a “totalitarian” society? and (2) Who is responsible for adopting ethical technologies: users, engineers, or democratic governance? Be sure to follow the essay outline below (It’s 3 parts).
1. Thesis and “roadmap” of your main argument
Your response to the prompt question can be your thesis: who is responsible for adopting ethical technologies: users, engineers, or democratic governance? Be sure to click the link above to see what makes a complete philosophy thesis.
2. Engage the Opposition
Consider your opposition’s best reasons and evidence against your thesis.
Be charitable: Present the opposing side’s argument in a way that would satisfy them. Avoid fallacious misrepresentations of the opposing view. This will make your argument more persuasive!
You will respond to your opposition in Section 3, but you can add a transition that summarizes your points of disagreement. However, save the details for Section 3 below.
Choosing your opposition:
Section 3 will include your answer to the following question Who is responsible for ethical technologies: users, engineers, or democratic governance? and you will pick one of the three options to defend. In Section 2, your opposition are the two options that you argue are NOT responsible for adopting ethical technologies. Present strong and concise arguments in favor of the two options that you believe are NOT responsible.
For example, if you think users are responsible for adopting ethical technologies, then Section 2 will contain the best argument in support of engineers and the best argument in support of democratic governance being responsible for adopting ethical tech. Section 3 would then be your opportunity to argue against these two options when you argue that accountability lies with technology users.
3. Analysis (the argument in support of your thesis)
Present your argument in support of your thesis.
Demonstrate the logical reasoning in support of your thesis. Arguments are FACTS and VALUES that mutually support a JUDGMENT or conclusion. Think of each body paragraph as an argument for why we should support your thesis.
Use clear and specific real-world examples to support your reasoning. Avoid vague or hypothetical evidence.
Address the following in your analysis:
Responding to Marcuse, to what extent (if any) do social media algorithms contribute to a “totalitarian” society? Are social media algorithms a “terroristic” or “non-terroristic” form of social control (or neither)?
“By virtue of the way it has organized its technological base, contemporary industrial society tends to be totalitarian. For ‘‘totalitarian’’ is not only a terroristic political coordination of society, but also a non-terroristic economic-technical coordination which operates through the manipulation of needs by vested interests. It thus precludes the emergence of an effective opposition against the whole. Not only a specific form of government or party rule makes for totalitarianism, but also a specific system of production and distribution which may well be compatible with a ‘‘pluralism’’ of parties, newspapers, ‘‘countervailing powers,’’ et cetera” (35). [it is highly recommended to reread the first three pages of the Marcuse reading. (IN THE FILES)
Who is responsible for ethical technologies: users, engineers, or democratic governance? Which solution best serves humanity’s ends or needs?
Use clear and specific examples from the assigned reading as evidence to support your reasoning. Avoid vague or hypothetical evidence.
More readings: (https://web.cs.ucdavis.edu/~rogaway/papers/moral-fn.pdf) (https://slate.com/technology/2019/04/ethics-board-google-ai.html)
This is NOT a research paper. Essays must engage arguments from the assigned reading/watching. Outside sources are not permissible. Be sure to read and watch the lectures to understand the material and the prompt. Submissions that do not address the prompt or engage the assigned reading will receive a 0/100. There are no second attempts and no extra credit. Come to discussion hours or email me if you have questions!
Please do not cite from the lecture slides. Cite from the assigned reading instead.
Try to be as close to MLA format as possible: 12 point font, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, double spaced
Google examples of Works Cited pages in MLA format