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  1. Scholars and public figures have called for improved ethics and social responsibility education in computer science degree programs in order to better address consequential technological issues in society. Indeed, rising public concern about computing technologies arguably represents an existential threat to the credibility of the computing profession itself. Despite these increasing calls, relatively little is known about the ethical development and beliefs of computer science students, especially compared to other science and engineering students. Gaps in scholarly research make it difficult to effectively design and evaluate ethics education interventions in computer science. Therefore, there is a pressing need for additional empirical study regarding the development of ethical attitudes in computer science students. Influenced by the Professional Social Responsibility Development Model, this study explores personal and professional social responsibility attitudes among undergraduate computing students. Using survey results from a sample of 982 students (including 184 computing majors) who graduated from a large engineering institution between 2017 and 2021, we compare social responsibility attitudes cross-sectionally among computer science students, engineering students, other STEM students, and non-STEM students. Study findings indicate computer science students have statistically significantly lower social responsibility attitudes than their peers in other science and engineering disciplines. In light ofmore »growing ethical concerns about the computing profession, this study provides evidence about extant challenges in computing education and buttresses calls for more effective development of social responsibility in computing students. We discuss implications for undergraduate computing programs, ethics education, and opportunities for future research.« less
  2. The attribution of human-like characteristics onto humanoid robots has become a common practice in Human-Robot Interaction by designers and users alike. Robot gendering, the attribution of gender onto a robotic platform via voice, name, physique, or other features is a prevalent technique used to increase aspects of user acceptance of robots. One important factor relating to acceptance is user trust. As robots continue to integrate themselves into common societal roles, it will be critical to evaluate user trust in the robot's ability to perform its job. This paper examines the relationship among occupational gender-roles, user trust and gendered design features of humanoid robots. Results from the study indicate that there was no significant difference in the perception of trust in the robot's competency when considering the gender of the robot. This expands the findings found in prior efforts that suggest performance-based factors have larger influences on user trust than the robot's gender characteristics. In fact, our study suggests that perceived occupational competency is a better predictor for human trust than robot gender or participant gender. As such, gendering in robot design should be considered critically in the context of the application by designers. Such precautions would reduce the potential formore »robotic technologies to perpetuate societal gender stereotypes.« less
  3. The purpose of this study was to survey the perspectives of clinicians regarding pediatric robotic exoskeletons and compare their views with the views of parents of children with disabilities. A total of 78 clinicians completed the survey; they were contacted through Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, and group pages on Facebook. Most of the clinicians were somewhat concerned to very concerned that a child might not use the device safely outside of the clinical setting. Most clinicians reported that the child would try to walk, run, and climb using the exoskeleton. The parents reported higher trust (i.e., lower concern) in the child using an exoskeleton outside of the clinical setting, compared to the clinician group. Prior experience with robotic exoskeletons can have an important impact on each group’s expectations and self-reported level of trust in the technology.
  4. Modern societies rely extensively on computing technologies. As such, there is a need to identify and develop strategies for addressing fairness, ethics, accountability, and transparency (FEAT) in computing-based research, practice, and educational efforts. To achieve this aim, a workshop, funded by the National Science Foundation, convened a working group of experts to document best practices and integrate disparate approaches to FEAT. The working group included different disciplines, demographics, and institutional types, including large research-intensive universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, teaching institutions, and liberal arts colleges. The workshop brought academics and members of industry together along with government representatives, which is vitally important given the role and impact that each sector can have on the future of computing. Relevant insights were gained by drawing on the experience of policy scholars, lawyers, statisticians, sociologists, and philosophers along with the more traditional sources of expertise in the computing realm (such as computer scientists and engineers). The working group examined best practices and sought to articulate strategies for addressing FEAT in computing-based research and education. This included identifying methodological approaches that researchers could employ to facilitate FEAT, instituting guidelines on what problem definition practices work best, and highlighting best practices formore »data access and data inclusion. The resulting report is the culmination of the working group activities in identifying systematic methods and effective approaches to incorporate FEAT considerations into the design and implementation of computing artifacts.« less
  5. In response to findings from the Cech study on the Culture of Disengagement at American engineering institutions, much concern has emerged regarding how future engineers might not be developing a mindset that places the public’s well-being as a foremost priority. This, of course, could have an important bearing on the type of professionals that academic institutions are sending out into the world. Many candidate explanations could presumably emerge in terms of why students become “disengaged”, including practical worries about obtaining a job or paying off debt from college. Against this theoretical backdrop, our research team is in the process of investigating what may help to combat, or at least mitigate, this type of problem. In other words, we are seeking to identify which specific facets of community engagement activities contribute to or fortify the concern that engineering and other STEM students have for the well-being of the public. Our team is in the process of embarking on a five-year grant funded project to study the effects of a broad range of community engagement activities, both inside and outside of the classroom.