modern STEM education has created an army of naive computer scientists that know how to apply processes to data but are completely oblivious to the philosophical implications and criticisms of their work

Hmm, it's almost like the corporations planned this.... 🤔

@patterfloof @esvrld @dankwraith

I worked in IT operations for the British Government for about 4 years in the early 2000s - such attitudes amongst senior management are still prevalent 😆

@Calcifer @esvrld @dankwraith amazing how it came so early, while the computer "as a device" was still being invented.

At that time, Computer was an occupation. You'd have clerks in offices working out tide tables & logarithmic tables, for example.

@patterfloof @esvrld @dankwraith yes, one of the reasons I love it is that it captures so well how the tech "muggles" misunderstand the "magic" of technology (this is not a dig, rather something we need to be aware of and careful with)

The other reason is that the full quote explains that the askers were politicians (from both the upper and lower houses), which is really just *chef kiss*

@esvrld @dankwraith @red Thanks for the image macro. I may apply it to discussions

@esvrld @dankwraith pretty much every paper I read that involved deep learning. "we used a deep neural network and the results look good/interesting"

@dankwraith it's amazing that this lesson wasn't heeded with an intense sense of urgency in response to like, the manhattan project.

@Jewbacchus @dankwraith it is a thing in physics and chemistry, and… it's like every single discipline needs their own Manhattan project to grasp the basic concept

perhaps philosophy should just become mandatory study for all science (again)?

@hirojin @Jewbacchus @dankwraith what little philosophy is taught in STEM is usually 'philosophy of science', which is useful and interesting but not really sufficient. We need some kind of 'Ethics & Diversity' class.

@operand @hirojin @dankwraith in my eng curriculum we had a required "ethics in engineering" class, but it was mostly about corporate codes of conduct, how to deal with client gifts, what counted as backroom dealing etc, nothing about actual ethics. Mostly about decoding legalese and doing the minimum legally required of you.

@Jewbacchus my junior year "thinking & writing for CS students" class went deep into the Therac-25 and a couple similar incidents, but I got the impression that this was as much driven by the individual professor as by any standard curriculum. and sadly a lot of the undergrads were Not Grokking It.
@operand @hirojin @dankwraith

@Jewbacchus @operand @dankwraith the cool new trend in silicon Valley is to bulldoze thru parliaments (uber) or via backdoor deals (everyone connected to epstein) to declare whatever they're doing legal

@Jewbacchus @operand @dankwraith ya know what?
i just realised that computer science has had its Manhattan Project a few years before the Manhattan Project:

and we've learned nothing from it

@dankwraith I’d go a bit further and say “willfully ignorant of nearly implications of their work beyond how it makes money” but I’m probably jaded.

@dankwraith If there are ethics courses involved, they're probably lumped under Topics in X, rather than any course devoted to it

@trebach @dankwraith I don't trust universities to actually do a good job teaching ethics though. The real ethics i learned was outside the required ethics courses i took. Most of the ethics courses was twisting themselves to justify domination when a corporation or a state does it and to justify punishment for disobedience.

@dankwraith being in college right now i have a feeling the evil comes at least in part from elsewhere

@dankwraith corporations brainwashing and providing monetary pathways, plus people that get into the field cause they heard they can make $$$ and have 0 empathy

@dankwraith looking at scholarships to university for my oldest son. Everything is STEM. Philosophy, ethics, law, politics, social work? Nope. Everyone wants to be Silicon Valley. We need more art and more thought. Not more algorithms.

@paco @dankwraith
Part of the problem is that our society, controlled by the sacro-sanct economy, does not allow people to make a living out of philosophy, ethics and other social studies.

@dankwraith the fact my workplace has a toys section labeled "stem" really is an indicatior of how parents want to train their kids to think that's legitimately the only way to *be* in life, it's almost surreal cause the slow morph of artistic toys into "(thing) lab" has bent my brain

@dankwraith okay that came off as tangential but I think "stem good art and social studies bad" is a brain poison in it's in right yeah

@dankwraith I'm a civil engineer and I feel like we're the one weird atavism because engineering ethics are still a pretty big part of the curriculum, I had one standalone ethics class and two or three others where we spent a few weeks on famous engineering failures or things like IBM's relationship to Nazi Germany

@jimpjorps if i become a teacher one day i am going to elbow drop everyone in the department repeatedly until they let me teach an ethics course

@MadestMadness @dankwraith much of the recent surge in STEM funding is a deliberate effort from the US DoD and private defense contractors to increase the pool of qualified applicants, which increases competition among applicants, which will allow employers to offer lower salaries.

the people with the money have the power and they are definitely shaping the curriculums.

the most ethics training i got was a single guest speaker in second year of undergrad.

@dankwraith Is that really new though? Seems like 30 years ago there wasn't to much interest in or understanding of it either.

@dankwraith I don't speak computer but you mean when AIs do a racism right

@dankwraith ngl I'd fucking LOVE it if I were able to get my masters/doctorate in philosophy then go on to teach computer ethics at a university.

@dankwraith every school should have a mandatory Ethics class in the track for their CompSci major

@jacethechicken @dankwraith seriously. i went to a very liberal MPA program but the one thing I loved about it was how much it emphasized ethical training, education, and debate. like, just teaching people the language to consider this stuff and opportunities to debate it is such an oppportunity for growth and not being myopic

@jacethechicken @dankwraith Honestly, one of the best things I could have wished for is that I studied to become a teacher for a year before dropping out and heading into software engineering because otherwise I would have gotten zilch in terms of being taught any kind of ethics.

@jacethechicken @dankwraith I had to take ethics for my degree (community management and fundraising)

And not just one that is for that program, I had to take like 3 ethics courses from the philosophy degree and they all had to do with what I have to do for others and such.

@jacethechicken @dankwraith I mean, you could simplify that and just make it mandatory for everyone.

@paulference @dankwraith I assumed it was specifically Ethics in CompSci. everyone should take an ethics class relevant to their major tho

@jacethechicken @dankwraith there's like one ethics course in the program I was in but it really needs to be an underlying thing in all the CS curriculum (and probably all fields, I would assume...)

@jacethechicken @dankwraith Also had to pass Philosophy to qualify for a comp.sci degree.

@dankwraith Speaking as a member of the previous generation, old-school now-called-STEM education also created an army (albeit smaller) of computer scientists who were totally oblivious to the philosophical implications & criticisms of their work.

That'd be the folks teaching the current crop.

@dankwraith I remember the educational controversy visible to laypeople in the mid- to late-80s was the danger of dropping/reducing liberal arts requirements for science degrees.

Clearly the removal side won. I wonder if the people who advocated for that side are satisfied with the results.

@dankwraith @puffinus_puffinus our technologists are so concerned with whether they CAN, they don’t stop to think if they SHOULD.

Or, tbqh, half the time whether they’re even actually doing what they think they are.

@dankwraith I'm pretty sure this was the objective .. you don't want, if you're a major government or corporation, unpredictable (principled) people in roles where they actually possess power (knowledge) hence those have to be trained to be naive (mechanistic) in applying their abilities. Exactly the opposite of a decent society.

@dankwraith this applies to every branch of modern education and I hate it

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