Outstanding Service Award (2005) — Chuck Huff (Interview)
[Q1] Looking back, what was it that first sparked your interest in computer/information ethics?
[A]: It was a recognition on my part that two research areas of mine could be combined to help us understand this area. I was interested in what is now called “social nformatics” in Europe and also in how people think about responsibility. Combining these lead me to begin thinking about how computer professional think about their own responsibilities as they design systems. But it was an invitation from Thomas Finholt to participate in a conference and then from Dianne Martin to join a workshop that crystallized this approach. It is one I have been following ever since.
[Q2] In your opinion, what is/are the most pressing issues in our field today? Why?
[A] Designing pedagogy that invites computer professionals to take responsibility for the systems they design and providing support and training to give them the skills and knowledge to do so. At a conceptual level, I think the most difficult issues have to do with how we parse responsibility for autonomous agents.
[Q3] Where do you see the field in the future?
[A] Given the fragmented nature of research and innovation, I am not sure about whether there will be “a field” in the future. I hope we will be able to provide some mechanism for the various different approaches to learn from each other.
[Q4] What advice or words of encouragement would you give to up and coming
[A] Do not stay to loyal to “your discipline.” Cross disciplinary lines and join with others to focus on pursuing a puzzle together. This will make your work richer, and help keep the field from fragmenting.
[Q5] Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers
on the occasion of SIGCAS’ 40th anniversary
[A] Remember SIGCAS as one of the early and continuing efforts to bring people together to understand computing and society issues. Use it and contribute to it to keep the conversation going.