This name change signifies the need for an interdisciplinary approach to training the next generation of technologists.
After four successful years supporting the future of responsible computing education in the United States, the Responsible Computer Science Challenge today announces it is changing its name to the Responsible Computing Challenge.
As technology continues to shape our everyday lives, it has become increasingly clear that a new generation of technologists around the world must approach their work differently to redress the harms of technology, capitalize on its opportunities, and shape a better future. “Computing,” rather than “computer science,” reflects the importance of interdisciplinary viewpoints – particularly the rich traditions of critical engagement with culture and society – to imagine and build a different future for technology.
Our grant-making and organizational structure is not changing, but how we think about interdisciplinary work on computing will. This definition is more inclusive of the different approaches, disciplines, and skill sets that a new generation of practitioners need in order to look beyond the technical minutiae of a design to map out its potential impact on people. This definition still includes computer science, and it also embraces a broader range of approaches: students should think through the implications of data analytics, robotics, human-centered design, and more.
Says Steven Azeka, Program Lead for the Responsible Computing Challenge: “Not only does the change of name to the Responsible Computing challenge signify the importance of a broader interdisciplinary coalition, it also raises the bar on our expectation of the technology sector when it comes to training a new generation of technologists with a broader skill set inclusive of expertise typically excluded.”
About the Responsible Computing Challenge
The Responsible Computing Challenge – funded by the Omidyar Network, Mozilla, Schmidt Futures, USAID, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies – reimagines how the next generation of technologists will be educated. By reimagining and redesigning undergraduate curricula and pedagogy to be both intentionally interdisciplinary and inclusive, the goal is to support a new wave of technologists who will understand social and historical context and think more critically about the design and use of technology. The hope is that the Challenge will unearth and spark innovative coursework geared towards building more responsible and ethical tools and applications at colleges and universities across the globe. Since December 2018, the Challenge has awarded $3.5 million in prizes to promising approaches that embed ethics in undergraduate computer science education, as well as a set of teaching and leadership resources in the Teaching Responsible Computing Playbook. If you would like to contribute to the Playbook, please sign up here. If you are interested in contributing to the Responsible Computing Challenge more broadly, please sign up for the Global Teaching Responsible Computing Community here.
Not only does the change of name to the Responsible Computing challenge signify the importance of a broader interdisciplinary coalition, it also raises the bar on our expectation of the technology sector when it comes to training a new generation of technologists with a broader skill set inclusive of expertise typically excluded.
Steven Azeka, Program Lead for the Responsible Computing Challenge
Mozilla’s two decades of tech building and advocacy has highlighted the importance of humanistic and social scientific approaches to technology, especially with regards to developing trustworthy AI.
In the first round of the Challenge, we found that the most successful and groundbreaking grants were ones that recognized the need for work beyond computer science, where computer science professors partnered with colleagues in law, history, philosophy, and beyond. You can read more about the past four years of programming here, which includes detailed descriptions of work by our 19 institutional grantees.