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Social issues key for Hanson


July 27, 2018

Computer Scientist Vicki Hanson just became CEO of the Association for Computing Machinery on July 1, but already is sounding the call for social responsibility in this age of data breaches, abuse of social media and artificial intelligence.

Hanson, former chair of the group’s executive committee, was not directly involved in the two-year process of developing the updated code of ethics ACM issued July 17. But it is a key part of her vision.

Recent events have driven members to ask ACM to take a stand, she said. Software and hardware developers as well as academic researchers are members of ACM.

“Talking about social responsibility was not something I heard from our members until really the last year and a half,” she said. “Suddenly it’s coming from all parts of our community. Everyone wants to do ethics and we have a new conference coming up about ethics.”

ACM’s previous code of ethics dated back to 1992, with the World Wide Web in its infancy. Social media would come many years later (Facebook and Twitter were publicly introduced in 2006).