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Paula Goldman, global lead for Omidyar Network’s Tech and Society Solutions Lab. Photo: Omidyar Network

A new initiative, backed by the foundations of Pierre Omidyar, Eric Schmidt, Craig Newmark and Mozilla, aims to convince the nation's computer science departments to spend more time teaching the ethics of the profession alongside the basics of coding.

Why it matters: Computers are increasingly tied to every aspect of modern life, placing cameras in our bedroom, deciding who gets credit, and recording our every digital footprint. It's time for those who program computers to fully understand the implications of their work, according to the backers of the initiative.

Details: In addition to those funding the project, the Responsible Computer Science Challenge effort also has the backing of a ton of prominent techies, including Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger, Lyft president John Zimmer and former U.S. chief data scientist DJ Patil.

  • It aims to award $3.5 million over the next year and a half to help spur new ideas of how to integrate ethics into computer science curricula.

Background: Ethics is often treated as a secondary issue, if addressed at all, in computer science classes, says Paula Goldman, global lead for Omidyar Network’s Tech and Society Solutions Lab.

  • "It’s an elective," Goldman said, "It’s not seen as core. It's seen as someone else's problem."

The bottom line: Half the technical talent in big Silicon Valley companies is drawn from the top 20 computer science departments in the U.S. That's a problem in some ways. But, in this case, it makes it easier for a project like this to make a quick impact.

Go deeper

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters rallied outside fortified statehouses over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.