Through the Responsible Computer Science Challenge, Omidyar Network, Mozilla, Schmidt Futures, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies are supporting the conceptualization, development, and piloting of curricula that integrate ethics with computer science. Our hope is that this coursework will not only be implemented, but also scaled to colleges and universities across the country — and beyond.
Between December 2018 and July 2020, we will award up to $3.5 million in prizes to promising proposals. The challenge is open to both individual professors or collaborative teams consisting of professors, graduate students, and teaching assistants. We’re seeking educators who are passionate about teaching not only computer science, but how it can be deployed in a responsible, positive way.
The challenge consists of two stages:
In Stage 1, we will seek concepts for deeply integrating ethics into existing undergraduate computer science courses, either through syllabi changes (e.g. including a reading or exercise on ethics in each class meeting) or teaching methodology adjustments (e.g. pulling teaching assistants from ethics departments). Stage 1 winners will receive up to $150,000 each to develop and pilot their ideas. Winners will be announced in April 2019.
In Stage 2, we will support the spread and scale of the most promising approaches developed in Stage 1. Stage 2 winners will receive up to $200,000 each and will be announced in summer 2020.
Projects will be judged by an external review committee of academics, tech industry leaders, and others, who will use evaluation criteria developed jointly by Omidyar Network and Mozilla.
Judges include Bobby Schnabel, professor of computer science at the University of Colorado Boulder and former president of ACM; Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College; Joshua Cohen, Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society at Stanford University; Brenda Darden Wilkerson, president and CEO of the Anita Borg Institute; and others.
We are accepting Initial Funding Concepts for Stage 1 now through December 13, 2018.
Pham concludes: “In the short term, we can create a new wave of engineers. In the long term, we can create a culture change in Silicon Valley and beyond — and as a result, a healthier internet.”
The Responsible Computer Science Challenge is part of Mozilla’s mission to empower the people and projects on the front lines of internet health work. Other recent awards include our WINS Challenges — which connect unconnected Americans — and the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund.
Omidyar Network’s Tech and Society Solutions Lab draws on Omidyar Network’s long-standing belief in the promise of technology to create opportunity and social good, as well as the concern about unintended consequences that can result from technological innovation. The team aims to help technologists prevent, mitigate, and correct societal downsides of technology — and maximize positive impact.
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