Technology and Ethics in Pop Culture Essay

a                      Requirements

Artifacts of pop culture (particularly movies!) are fertile ground for an in-depth examination of various issues of technology ethics. From George Lucas’ first motion picture, THX-1138 (released in 1971) to Disney’s Wall-E (2008) to Passengers (2016), one could argue that science fiction isn’t about science at all; it is about people, and how they cope with concerns raised by technological advancement and the choices they have to make. As a creative means to explore the ethics of emerging technologies, you will conduct a critical analysis of one movie/motion picture film that encompasses some form of technology and communicate your analysis in the form of a written essay. In your paper you will explore the ethical concerns that are raised by particular technologies depicted in the film of your choice and the potential implications for society. Alternative perspectives and creative interpretations are welcome and encouraged! Some examples of appropriate films for analysis include:


The Island War Games I Am Legend
Wall-E Sneakers Snowden
THX-1138 Avatar Ex Machina
Up in the Air Bicentennial Man Passengers
AI Artificial Intelligence My Sister’s Keeper Eye in the Sky
Gattica Hackers Tron
Metropolis Transcendence I, Robot Her
Black Mirror (show available on Netflix, watch at least 3 episodes) The Human Face of Big Data


Or, you may choose a movie on your own, as long as it meets the premise criteria outlined above. It is expected that each student will rent or borrow (from the library, friend, or legal rental source) a copy of the movie he/she chooses in order to view it in its entirety to complete this assignment. Throughout your paper, you will be expected to make connections between issues raised in the film and the basic ethical theories and philosophies we will be learning about. You will also be expected to critically reflect on the potential concerns for society as you see them.

What to include in your essay:

1.      A Title Page including an original title for your essay, your name, and the date of submission (any other information you feel appropriate to include on the title page is ok too). Please follow the formatting requirements of APA or MLA.

2.      The written essay at least 1300 words in length (word count requirement does not include title and references. Please write at least 1300 words in the main body of the paper). Also in APA or MLA format, double- spaced, with standard 1-inch margins with in-text citations

  1. Describe the ethical issues using Budinger and Budinger’s  Four A’s Ethical Strategy (See Table 1.1 in the reading). Also connect to at least one other ethical framework covered in class.

4.      A properly formatted list of sources (References or Works Cited) at the end. Cite 3 sources at a minimum (the movie/show you watched, the Budinger & Budinger article, and a source for the other framework you reference).

  1. Technology Ethics in Pop Culture Rubric
Purpose and Content

First Draft: 4 points

Final Draft: 8 points

The paper recognizes the ethical implications presented in the pop culture, and presents them well. The purpose of the paper is appropriate for the assignment, and either explicitly states the purpose or presents a thesis statement describing the purpose of the paper. At least 1300 words in length (word count requirement does not include title and references. Please write at least 1300 words in the main body of the paper)
Ethical Analysis

First Draft: 6 points

Final Draft: 12 points

The paper thoroughly explores sophisticated ethical analysis of the topic, applying at least two ethical frameworks from class. Ethical dilemmas are identified, and multiple perspectives are investigated and are explained in a clear manner.
Writing Skills
First Draft: 3 points

Final Draft: 6 points

The author applies skillful writing practices including (but not limited to)  thesis statements, support for thesis statement, thoughtful word choice and word economy (i.e., state things in a straightforward, accessible way), multi-level structure (sentence structure, paragraph structure, paper structure), and signpost statements to orient readers.
Academic Format

First Draft: 3 points

Final Draft: 6 points

The paper properly applies APA or MLA formatting throughout.
Total First Draft: 16 Points

Final Draft: 32 Points


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