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Critical Tools for MS3307 Thesis. Crisis in Education.

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Presentation on theme: "Critical Tools for MS3307 Thesis. Crisis in Education."— Presentation transcript:

1 Critical Tools for MS3307 Thesis

2 Crisis in Education

3 Last Week Arguments have reasons (one or many) They are supposed to persuade They will always conclude

4 Simple exercise (A)The use of antivirus software is increasingly necessary on a computer network. (B) Viruses and worms are widespread. (C) They are also becoming more devious. (D) Simply being careful and looking for suspicious programs is not enough.’ A is the conclusion B, C & D supporting reasons

5 This Session Using critical thinking tools to analyse literature and think through your own thesis…

6 Reasoning All reasoning has a purpose All reasoning is an attempt to figure something out, to settle some question, to solve some problem All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by, concepts and ideas All reasoning is based on assumptions All reasoning is done from some point of view All reasoning should be based on data, information, and/or evidence All reasoning contains inferences by which we draw conclusions and give meaning to data All reasoning leads somewhere, has implications and consequences (see the irony)

7 A check list for reasoning 1.Purpose 2.Questions, problems solutions 3.Concepts and ideas 4.Assumptions 5.Points of view 6.Data, information and evidence 7.Interpretation, inference and conclusions 8.Implication From The Art of Close Reading by Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder (The Foundation for Critical Thinking).

8 Adapted from The Art of Close Reading by Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder (The Foundation for Critical Thinking).

9 Dr Aycock's Bad Idea Is the Good Use of Computer Viruses Still a Bad Idea? Tony Sampson Featured article in M/C Volume 8, Issue 1 Feb. 2005

10 1. Purpose How is the purpose stated? Are the purposes significant/realistic? Is the work targeted to one specific purpose? Can you distinguish a central purpose from related purposes? How is the purpose relevant to your thesis question?

11 Following the deep-seated analogy between biological and computer parasites, it is surely inconceivable that anyone would want to deliberately infect a computer. It’s a bad idea, right? Well, not necessarily. It seems that the University of Calgary (UoC) want to challenge the received wisdom of security experts—a judgment, which determines that there is no such thing as a good virus. The UoC wants to encourage their students to write and test malevolent viruses. Still following the biological analogy, Dr John Aycock, the academic who runs the program at UoC, likens the approach to ‘what medical researchers do to combat the latest biological viruses such as Sars’. He argues that ‘before you can develop a cure, you have to understand what the virus is and how it spreads and what motivates those who write malicious software’ (Fried). The reaction from security experts is not surprisingly one of dismay—for them, all viruses are bad. Nonetheless, it is Dr. Aycock’s provocation that may provide a much-needed alternative solution to one of the biggest problems facing the network society. As many affiliates of this composite society are increasingly discovering, the network is a present day communication paradox. It is a vast, fast, and efficient logic machine, but simultaneously it provides the perfect medium for viral contagion. Moreover, despite the efforts of a billion dollar anti-virus industry, current reactive solutions are clearly not working… Viruses, it seems, are progressively more capable of ‘bypassing traditional anti-virus software and targeting vulnerabilities’. However, Dr Aycock argues that academics should not bury their heads in the sand. They should openly recognise that ‘reacting to the virus is simply not working’ and instead support pro-active research into the creation of computer viruses. Within the bad idea itself there maybe a good solution. Purpose should be apparent very early on… After a bit of preamble

12 Following the deep-seated analogy between biological and computer parasites, it is surely inconceivable that anyone would want to deliberately infect a computer. It’s a bad idea, right? Well, not necessarily. It seems that the University of Calgary (UoC) want to challenge the received wisdom of security experts—a judgment, which determines that there is no such thing as a good virus. The UoC wants to encourage their students to write and test malevolent viruses. Still following the biological analogy, Dr John Aycock, the academic who runs the program at UoC, likens the approach to ‘what medical researchers do to combat the latest biological viruses such as Sars’. He argues that ‘before you can develop a cure, you have to understand what the virus is and how it spreads and what motivates those who write malicious software’ (Fried). The reaction from security experts is not surprisingly one of dismay—for them, all viruses are bad. Nonetheless, it is Dr. Aycock’s provocation that may provide a much-needed alternative solution to one of the biggest problems facing the network society. As many affiliates of this composite society are increasingly discovering, the network is a present day communication paradox. It is a vast, fast, and efficient logic machine, but simultaneously it provides the perfect medium for viral contagion. Moreover, despite the efforts of a billion dollar anti-virus industry, current reactive solutions are clearly not working… Viruses, it seems, are progressively more capable of ‘bypassing traditional anti-virus software and targeting vulnerabilities’. However, Dr Aycock argues that academics should not bury their heads in the sand. They should openly recognise that ‘reacting to the virus is simply not working’ and instead support pro-active research into the creation of computer viruses. Within the bad idea itself there maybe a good solution. Purpose should be apparent very early on… After a bit of preamble

13 Following the deep-seated analogy between biological and computer parasites, it is surely inconceivable that anyone would want to deliberately infect a computer. It’s a bad idea, right? Well, not necessarily. It seems that the University of Calgary (UoC) want to challenge the received wisdom of security experts—a judgment, which determines that there is no such thing as a good virus. The UoC wants to encourage their students to write and test malevolent viruses. Still following the biological analogy, Dr John Aycock, the academic who runs the program at UoC, likens the approach to ‘what medical researchers do to combat the latest biological viruses such as Sars’. He argues that ‘before you can develop a cure, you have to understand what the virus is and how it spreads and what motivates those who write malicious software’ (Fried). The reaction from security experts is not surprisingly one of dismay—for them, all viruses are bad. Nonetheless, it is Dr. Aycock’s provocation that may provide a much-needed alternative solution to one of the biggest problems facing the network society. As many affiliates of this composite society are increasingly discovering, the network is a present day communication paradox. It is a vast, fast, and efficient logic machine, but simultaneously it provides the perfect medium for viral contagion. Moreover, despite the efforts of a billion dollar anti-virus industry, current reactive solutions are clearly not working… Viruses, it seems, are progressively more capable of ‘bypassing traditional anti-virus software and targeting vulnerabilities’. However, Dr Aycock argues that academics should not bury their heads in the sand. They should openly recognise that ‘reacting to the virus is simply not working’ and instead support pro-active research into the creation of computer viruses. Within the bad idea itself there maybe a good solution. Purpose should be apparent very early on… After a bit of preamble

14 Questions, problems, solutions Can you state the question? Can the question stated be expressed in different ways? Can the question be broken down? Is the question answered by a… –Right answer –Opinion –Reasoning from more than one point of view

15 Questions are often stated in the introduction and relate to the purpose. Is the Good Use of Computer Viruses Still a Bad Idea? – explicit in the title “Following the deep-seated analogy between biological and computer parasites, it is surely inconceivable that anyone would want to deliberately infect a computer. It’s a bad idea, right?” Within this heated climate, it was highly probable that Dr Aycock would stand accused of peddling a bad idea. However… “Within the bad idea itself there maybe a good solution.”

16 Concepts and ideas Can you identify a key concept? Are there alternative ideas presented? Are the concepts precisely used?

17 Concepts and ideas Useful to look at introduction to book Editorial comments in journal or edited collections In the given example Kylie Cardell and Jason Emmett’s Editorial to “Bad” issue of M/CKylie CardellJason Emmett “The work of any researcher in the ever-broadening field of that nebulous thing, the Humanities, is to think about received ideas in surprising and unfamiliar ways, to challenge what is simply thought of as bad or good, to complicate essentialist categories, and to question passively-accepted thinking. Things that may have seemed indissolubly bad may in fact be revealed as good precisely because they are dissolute, troubling, and inevitably disruptive to accepted norms, including your own. The reverse is also true. Anything is possible… … Sampson examines to what extent paranoia and fear of the computer virus as unequivocally bad has constrained research in the field, research that may actually prove to have positive consequences in the fight against the malevolent affects of viruses. The perceived incursion of ‘ethical norms’ short circuits innovation as it feeds moral outrage. ”

18 Assumptions

19 Question Assumption Almost half of Shakespeare’s plays are set in Italy Does that make him an Italian? Almost all of Isaac Asimov’s novels are set in outer space Does that make him an alien?

20 Assumptions Have you identified assumptions? Are assumptions justifiable? How are the assumptions shaping the line of reasoning?

21 Assumptions “… the network is a present day communication paradox. It is a vast, fast, and efficient logic machine, but simultaneously it provides the perfect medium for viral contagion. Moreover, despite the efforts of a billion dollar anti-virus industry, current reactive solutions are clearly not working.” So let’s give bad viruses a chance????

22 Points of view

23 Is there a clear point of view? Can you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the point of view? Are the points of view fair- minded? How does this point of view relate to other perspectives?

24 Versus security viewpoint Give bad viruses a chance? “The reaction from security experts is not surprisingly one of dismay—for them, all viruses are bad.” “Graham Cluley, a consultant for Sophos, rhetorically questions UoC’s ethics by asking, ‘should we teach kids how to break into cars if they’re interested in becoming a policeman one day?’ (Kelly). The anti-virus experts argue that by teaching how to ‘attack and destroy’ rather than ‘prevention, protection, and cure’, UoC will simply encourage the widespread contagion of the bad idea.” However, UoC questions the naivety of this expert opinion. They argue that any ‘reasonably intelligent individual’ can access this information without attending university for four years. They claim it is ‘dangerous to think that virus writers can be stopped without a better understanding of how they operate.’”

25 Data, information and evidence What data has been used to support claims made? Do you know of opposing information? Is the data clear, accurate and relevant to the question?

26 Data, information and evidence Reports, stats A report in the UK (DTI) concludes that despite the considerable uptake of anti-virus software—93% of UK companies have anti-virus software—70% of all security breaches are from viral-like programs 1991 Gallup survey [in Louw and Duffy] showed that of 500 of the UK’s largest businesses 24% had experienced a viral attack Expert opinion Viruses, it seems, are progressively more capable of ‘bypassing traditional anti-virus software and targeting vulnerabilities’

27 Interpretation, inference and conclusions Are the conclusions consistent? What new assumptions have been made? Does the evidence support the conclusion?

28 Conclusions Maybe UoC are doing what academia does best. They are considering the virus in a new and unfamiliar light, clearing away ethical baggage, and crossing the moral boundaries of the network society. Deep-seated as it is, the analogy only goes so far. The network and the virus writer have developed their own biology, which is both technologically and culturally shaped. The search for a viral cure has to move away from the reactionary dissection of existing viral anatomies. Researchers need to look towards a pro-active engineering model that incorporates the complex human-computer assemblage. As one maverick expert suggests: “Tomorrow’s experts need to learn to think beyond and develop better applications and operating systems that proactively block potential attack vectors rather than waiting to be attacked and then responding.” While many other types of furtive program, like ‘bots’, ‘crawlers’, and ‘spiders’ legitimately creep behind our screens, the virus is seen as a digital pariah. Whether or not the viral algorithm is benevolent or malevolent doesn’t seem to matter any more. The vast majority of the network society regards it as a bad idea. Nevertheless, Dr Aycock’s experiment with both the cultural and technological elements could produce a pro-active immunisation program. Whatever the conclusion, he should be applauded for attempting to carry out this experiment while beleaguered by so many experts who decide to judge innovation in terms of rigid moral outcomes.

29 Conclusions Maybe UoC are doing what academia does best. They are considering the virus in a new and unfamiliar light, clearing away ethical baggage, and crossing the moral boundaries of the network society. Deep-seated as it is, the analogy only goes so far. The network and the virus writer have developed their own biology, which is both technologically and culturally shaped. The search for a viral cure has to move away from the reactionary dissection of existing viral anatomies. Researchers need to look towards a pro-active engineering model that incorporates the complex human-computer assemblage. As one maverick expert suggests: “Tomorrow’s experts need to learn to think beyond and develop better applications and operating systems that proactively block potential attack vectors rather than waiting to be attacked and then responding.” While many other types of furtive program, like ‘bots’, ‘crawlers’, and ‘spiders’ legitimately creep behind our screens, the virus is seen as a digital pariah. Whether or not the viral algorithm is benevolent or malevolent doesn’t seem to matter any more. The vast majority of the network society regards it as a bad idea. Nevertheless, Dr Aycock’s experiment with both the cultural and technological elements could produce a pro-active immunisation program. Whatever the conclusion, he should be applauded for attempting to carry out this experiment while beleaguered by so many experts who decide to judge innovation in terms of rigid moral outcomes.

30 Implication Can the implications be regarded as negative, positive or constructive? Have all implications been considered? Are there obvious implications following from the reasoning?

31 Homework Reread chapter, article or paper related to your thesis. Make notes about 1.Purpose 2.Questions, problems solutions 3.Concepts and ideas 4.Assumptions 5.Points of view 6.Data, information and evidence 7.Interpretation, inference and conclusions 8.Implication

32 Use this list to think about your own thesis 1.What is my purpose? 2.What question am I trying to answer? 3.What data or information do I need? 4.What conclusions or inferences can I make (based on this information)? 5.If I come to these conclusions, what will the implications and consequences be? 6.What is the key concept (theory) I am working with? 7.What assumptions am I making? 8.What is my point of view?


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