About the Center

Areas of Focus

Areas of Focus

CTSP has four broad areas of focus. We’ve listed a few questions under each area to stimulate thinking—but these are just a start, not a complete picture of the many possibilities and interesting questions in each space.

What are the ethics of software engineering? What values are instantiated in the design of apps, Internet services and technical systems? How should systems adapt to end-user values? How might Big Data assist or threaten values? What makes algorithms biased? How might product, design and engineering processes better incorporate ethical considerations?

What are the implications of the policies that govern how we use and interact with technology? Does policy making in the tech sphere produce expected outcomes, or unintended consequences? How can we measure and evaluate how well tech policy succeeds or fails?

How can we develop and support more “technical diplomats” — skilled technologists who can build bridges between the tech world and the public sphere? How do we interest and encourage more technologists to bring their knowledge and skills to bear in policymaking and public service? How do we create more opportunities for those with this unique skill-set without requiring a law degree? 

How is technology changing the nature of citizenship? How can we support free speech and protect against harassment? How can technology support participation in the political process? How does social media affect the behaviors of citizens, politicians, government agencies, corporations and NGOs? Is technology widening a partisan gap? How might technology narrow it? How can we use Big Data to understand public opinion and social movements?

Banner Photo Credit: “Berkeley Sunset” by Joe Parks is licensed under CC BY 2.0