University of Oulu

Tuovinen, Lauri & Rohunen, Anna (2021) Teaching AI Ethics to Engineering Students: Reflections on Syllabus Design and Teaching Methods. In: Jani Koskinen et al. (eds.) Proceedings of the Conference on Technology Ethics, Tethics2021, Turku, Finland, October, 20-22, 2021. (pp. 19-33).

Teaching AI ethics to engineering students : reflections on syllabus design and teaching methods

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Author: Tuovinen, Lauri1; Rohunen, Anna1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: RWTH Aachen University, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-01-27


The importance of ethics in artificial intelligence is increasing, and this must be reflected in the contents of computer engineering curricula, since the researchers and engineers who develop artificial intelligence technologies and applications play a key part in anticipating and mitigating their harmful effects. However, there are still many open questions concerning what should be taught and how. In this paper we suggest an approach to building a syllabus for a course in ethics of artificial intelligence, make some observations concerning effective teaching methods and discuss some particular challenges that we have encountered. These are based on the pilot implementation of a new course that aimed to give engineering students a comprehensive overview of the ethical and legislative aspects of artificial intelligence, covering both knowledge of issues that the students should be aware of and skills that they will need in order to competently deal with those issues in their work. The course was well received by the students, but also criticized for its high workload. Substantial difficulties were experienced in trying to inspire the students to engage in discussions and debates among themselves, which may limit the effectiveness of the course in building the students’ ethical argumentation skills unless a satisfactory solution is found. Several promising ideas for future development of our teaching practices can be found in the literature.

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Series: CEUR workshop proceedings
ISSN: 1613-0073
ISSN-E: 1613-0073
ISSN-L: 1613-0073
Pages: 19 - 33
Host publication: Proceedings of the Conference on Technology Ethics, Tethics2021, Turku, Finland, October, 20-22, 2021
Host publication editor: Koskinen, Jani
Rantanen, Minna M.
Tuikka, Anne-Marie
Knaapi-Junnila, Sari
Conference: Conference on Technology Ethics
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Copyright information: © 2021 for this paper by its authors. Use permitted under Creative Commons License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).