The First Post

I am Matthew McKenzie a senior Computer Engineering major. I grew up in Maryland and went to a Jesuit high school (Gonzaga) in downtown Washington, D.C.  I then went to Elon University for Computer Science, and ended up joining the 3-2 engineering program.  After completing 3 years at Elon University, I transferred to University of Notre Dame to study Computer Engineering and I am in my last semester.  After this semester, I will receive my Computer Science degree from Elon University and my Computer Engineering degree from University of Notre Dame.

My interests include snowboarding, baseball (Chicago Cubs), hockey (Washington Capitals), football (Washington Redskins), and handyman work (among other things).  I played baseball for all four years, and my dad is from Chicago, so that’s why I’m a Cubs fan (yes Steve Bartman is in my memory and I recently learned he was a Notre Dame graduate).  Besides that, I did not have any allegiance to Chicago teams, so I followed the Redskins and Capitals.

I am studying Computer Engineering because I truly enjoy the subject material.  Everyday I read about more and more new devices that have been created to benefit humanity.  I also believe that it is the most exciting major since everything is changing and growing so fast.  Something that has been vastly improved are the devices to create a “Smart Home” environment, and this is a big area of interest to me.

I hope to gain an approach to computing ethical problems that I may face in the future.  It is widely known that Volkswagen recently had a scandal of the computer system tricking the emissions test.  There is also the case of Jeep having trouble where people can hack the car.  I mention this because I will be Ford in September.  At Ford I will be part of the Ford College Graduate program (FCG) and will partake in three different rotations relating to IT.  Whether my rotations will have very important decisions related to these scandals that Volkswagen and Jeep were part of, it will be very important to have this ethics class when making decisions at Ford.

There are many ethical problems that Computer Scientists face.  The most important ones include Privacy, the Internet (meaning freedom of speech), and Artificial Intelligence. Privacy is the most interesting topic to me.  I recently took a philosophy class that discussed Big Data, specifically companies that have started aggregating the data.  I did not come up with a solution, but I started to look at all of the different perspectives.  One perspective is that the company that is doing the data aggregation is entitled to all of the information that is gathered.  A problem with this is that many people completely disregard the agreements when signing up for a website or downloading a program that reports the different statistics.  I am very interested to see what other peoples view on privacy are because technically people agree to these different forms of aggregation giving their rights up, but should this still be legal to collect all the information?





Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at


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