The Federalist Papers were anonymous documents trying to
persuade people how to vote and what to believe in a contested
political environment. What could possibly go wrong?
How is this relevant today? What aspects of the situation
are similar to today and what aspects are different?
Alexander Hamilton came from an impoverished, West Indian,
immigrant family and was an orphan. Yet he managed to become
powerful and influential. How do you think his diverse
background helped and hindered him as he tried to become
successful in the world?
Computer Science as a field is disproportionately made up of
white men. Why do you think this is the case? Have you
experienced or witnessed incidents that you think might have
had a negative (or positive) influence on people considering
computer science as a field? How does our lack of diversity
affect the field and what might we do to address this problem?
Examples of Big Questions in Computer Science
What is intelligence? Do machines have it now? Will it
ever be possible for a machine to have it?
How (and why?) did human language evolve and will machines
ever effectively use/understand human language?
How does semantics emerge from syntax? Or where does
meaning come from in language?
Does P = NP ?
How can we strike a balance between security and privacy
on one hand and openness and flexibility on the the other
What is an appropriate set of professional ethics for a
computer scientist? How can we balance conflicts between
employer/client interest and societal good? (Sort of a CS
version of the tragedy of the commons.)
What are the trade-offs between open vs. closed software
development in our society?