With Professor Chris Featherman
If there’s one question college students answer the most it’s, “What is your major?” My answer, “Computer science and philosophy,” is almost always met with, “That’s weird.” (Or more politely, “That’s interesting.”) People think of computer science as technical, and philosophy as its counterpart. Whether this is true or not, I argue that philosophy might be the most needed compliment to computer science. Software engineers are entering the workforce with little to no understanding of the humanities to the detriment of the entire industry.
Philosophy, I think, gives me a unique advantage, both as someone with an understanding in ethics and as someone with practiced communication skills. Where code is the communicative medium for the engineer, writing and discourse are for the humanities. Combining these disciplines results in an uncommon and powerful perspective, bringing insights from morality and humanity to the engineering workbench.
In this portfolio, I put forward three pieces of writing that demonstrate my ability to effectively write in several genres, use audience awareness, and bring the perspectives of philosophy to engineering topics. The first and second pieces are academic, aimed at an audience of computer scientists and philosophers. The annotated bibliography illuminates the state of ethics in machine learning, which is largely non-interdisciplinary. The policy proposal is, as you might expect, a call for more collaboration between philosophers and engineers in developing machine learning models. Finally, the explainer article is written for the public to outline the implications of ethics in machine learning and explain both technical and philosophical terms to laypeople.