A growing area reflecting the impact of technology on society is ethics and AI. This has a few variations… one is what is ethical in terms of developing or applying AI, the second is what is ethical for AI’s. (Presumably for an AI to select an ethical vs unethical course of action either it must be programmed that way, or it must learn what is ethical as part of it’s education/awareness.)
Folks playing in the AI Ethics domain include a recent consortia of industry players (IBM, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft), the IEEE Standards folks, and the White House (with a recent white paper).
This is a great opportunity for learning about the issues in the classroom, to develop deep background for policy and press folks — concerns will emerge here — consider self driving cars, robots in warfare or police work, etc. and of course the general public where misconceptions and misinformation are likely. We see many movies where evil technology is a key plot device, and get many marketing messages on the advantages of progress. Long term challenges for informed evolution in this area will require less simplistic perspectives of the opportunities and risks.
There is a one day event in Brussels, Nov. 15, 2016 that will provide a current view on some of the issues, and discussions.