ETHics in CS


Our work as computer scientists has global consequences. However, the actual impact of our work often remains hidden. The influence on where and how our algorithms are used is limited.

One example of this is the algorithm for predicting high school grades in the UK: Link

At ETH, we primarily learn to answer the question: "What can we do?" The question "What should we do?" often remains unaddressed. Sooner or later, we will all face these questions. Our goal is to ensure that ETH prepares us for this moment.

Statements that we frequently hear

  • "You can discuss this with your friends over a beer in the evening, but not here in class."
  • "Ethics has no place in computer science. What we do is mathematically optimal."
  • "We only build tools. How they are used is not our responsibility."
  • "The market decides which algorithms are used. If an algorithm isn’t good, it won’t be used."

If that's not enough critical thinking for you, you've come to the right place.

What we want for D-INFK

We aim to build a community of computer science students where critical issues can be discussed constructively. As computer science experts, we bear responsibility. Where this responsibility begins is often difficult to determine. We want this question to have a place in our studies. It's not about defining what is right or wrong, but about fostering a culture that encourages such discussions.

What we do to achieve this

  • Exchange with professors within and outside the department
  • Collecting opinions and experiences from computer science students
  • Regular ethics dessert: free dessert during the lunch break in the CAB with suggestions for discussion
  • Instagram channel with current information on events and suggestions for lectures that broaden horizons
  • University policy work in the HoPo (e.g. teaching commission)

What you can do

  • Attend our events, enjoy a free dessert and give us your opinion.
  • Share your experiences with us. We want to know where you think critical thinking is missing at ETH.
  • Follow us on Instagram and become part of the community.
  • Feel free to contact us via Instagram.