Human Contexts and Ethics

Background image: Students around a data table
Image credit:
Anika Cruz

The Human Contexts and Ethics (HCE) program is a community of students and faculty examining the dynamics of technology development and human life in a datafied world.

HCE education explores how human, social, and institutional structures and practices shape technical work around computing and data, as well as how data, data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and computing permeate and shape our individual and social lives.

In addition to offering dedicated HCE courses (DATA 104; DATA 4AC), we integrate HCE curriculum andToolkit in data science and computer science courses.

Read more about the HCE Program.

Recent News

People interacting with technologies

Teacher Training "Towards Social Justice in the Data Science Classroom"

The HCE Program held a teacher training on bringing human contexts and ethics into data science classrooms during the 2021 National Workshop on Data Science Education. Recording and Resources document available!

A focus on data and justice in the new DATA 4AC course

DATA 4AC is an exciting and timely new course developed by the HCE program that realizes the spirit of Berkeley by bringing together an understanding of race in American experience, introduction to data science, and perspectives from the interpretive social sciences to support students in acting towards justice in the datafied world.

Camera with lenses representing HCE tools

"Puzzling Out Our Roles and Places in the Datafied World"

An overview of the HCE program in conversation with Cathryn Carson, Margo Boenig-Liptsin, and Ari Edmundson, by Jon Bashor.

Rendering of UC Berkeley in Minecraft

Fall 2020 DATA C104 Syllabus

Get to know the Fall 2020 DATA C104 syllabus! We begin this semester with an in-depth focus on the history, power dynamics, and imaginaries of facial recognition technologies as a way to get oriented in the datafied world.

2020 HCE Undergrad Essay Prize

Winners of the 2020 HCE Prize announced! The Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society held this year an inaugural competition for UC Berkeley undergraduates doing independent, original research on social, cultural, historical, policy, or ethical issues at the intersection of data science, technology and society.

National Award to Help UC Berkeley Expand Responsible Data Science and Computer Science Curriculum

The Responsible Computer Science Challenge, an ambitious $3.5 million initiative, has chosen UC Berkeley as one of its inaugural awardees. The award will support UC Berkeley faculty and students in computer science, social science, and humanities to develop and scale Berkeley’s groundbreaking ethics curriculum for data science and computer science.

Cultivating Inclusion in Tech

On Friday March 8, International Women’s Day, women from a range of backgrounds came together for a symposium at UC Berkeley to highlight the experience of women in tech, particularly the growing field of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Deploying Data for Good

Last semester, UC Berkeley seniors Mansi Shah and Samson Mataraso created a DeCal class to provide their peers with hands-on exposure to the human side of data science. They see the class, “Exploring Data Science & Social Good,” and others like it as opportunities to build understanding around data and its transformative power—for better as well as for worse.

Realizing the Promise of Precision Medicine for All Requires the Data of All

Ashley Chopra, a 4th year Molecular and Cell Biology major and pre-med student explores essential elements to fully realizing the potential of precision medicine—ethical data collection practices and data from individuals from all backgrounds. Ashley explored the topic as part of the course Human Contexts and Ethics of Data (HCE), which explores how people, social structures, and practices shape and are shaped by the use of data.

Enabling Safe, Fair, and Free Speech…at Scale

If Jane Austen ran an internet platform, what would it look like? That’s how Alex Feerst, the Head of the Legal team at Medium (link is external), opened a recent Human Contexts and Ethics Conversation on moderating online content. The conversation, which took place just before the 2016 mid-term elections, was organized by the UC Berkeley Division of Data Sciences to build on student discussions in the Human Contexts and Ethics of Data (link is external) class about public spheres and democracy in the datafied world.

Rethinking the Trolley Problem: An overview of HCE

Human Contexts and Ethics Overview - Ari Edmondson