HackRice 9 | Ethics Track
Computing and technology are neutral for the most part. They can be used to enhance the best aspects of human nature (such as empathy, creativity, and generosity), or they can allow the worst aspects of it (such as prejudice, selfishness, and irrational thinking) to flourish and cause harm. Incorporating ethics into design and coding involves trying to anticipate all the ways – positive and negative – humans may use and interact with tech. While it’s difficult to exert complete control over human users, tech can be designed to promote particular behavior and outcomes.
This track is intentionally broad; we’re open to seeing a broad range of ethically designed or re-designed tech. Your goal should be to create something from scratch, or change something that exists, to encourage good behavior on the part of its human users. Your deliverable should be one of the following:
- A write-up of the problem, and a detailed description/list of specs of a prospective solution
- A write-up of the problem, and the tech behind the prospective solution
- An app that raises tech employees’ awareness of gentrification in their community
- A social media platform that prevents the spread of false, potentially harmful information
- A browser plug-in that counters/corrects for a particular cognitive bias
- An application of augmented reality that encourages empathy and counters prejudice
- Ellis (2017). “How tech campuses hinder diversity and help gentrification.” Wired.
- Christian (2017). “Is there any hope for Facebook’s fact-checking efforts?” The Atlantic.
- Weigert (2019). “How the Internet amplifies our cognitive biases.” Hacker Noon.
- Verdolin (2017). “Cultivating Empathy. What does it take?” Psychology Today.