CNCF launches ethics in open source training course

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The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) has launched an Ethics in Open Source Development training course that explores the ethical implications developers should consider when building open source software.

The new certification has been developed by the vendor-neutral CNCF, in partnership with Linux Foundation Training and Certification, and AI ethics specialist firm Ethical Intelligence.

The free online training course takes 2-3 hours and is primarily aimed at product managers and software developers who want to learn how to incorporate ethics-by-design and critical thinking techniques into their workflows.

Topics covered include ethics, safeguards, evaluation, action planning, and monitoring. Upon completion of the course, the CNCF says participants will have a better understanding of the Ethics Journey Cycle in open source development, and a better ability to address ethical blind spots, apply ethical critical thinking and operationalize ethics for risk-mitigation and innovation.

The course has been developed by AI ethicist and CEO at Ethical Intelligence, Olivia Gambelin; member of the IEEE P7003 Algorithmic Bias Working Group, Rahaf Albalkhi; moral philosopher Michael Klenk, and Rand Hirmiz, a philosophy PhD candidate at York University specializing in the ethics of AI in healthcare.

In a press release announcing the course launch, the CNCF said that certain essential ethical principles will thrive in the open source format. “The key is to understand how to develop the technology in a way that innovation is maximized while challenges are expertly navigated and solved,” the release reads.

Ethics in open source development has long been a hot topic of conversation amongst the developer community. Part six of the Open Source Definition, as maintained by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), reads: “The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor”.

As Infoworld columnist and software developer, Andrew Oliver argued in 2020, this means that any software licenses that attempt to prohibit socially harmful or unethical uses cannot be truly considered open source, according to the OSI.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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