Course Resources

Week 1: The Technological Species

All human societies develop technologies that enable them to solve problems. One problem that technology seems not to solve is the problem of being happy. Some philosophers argue that technology makes us less happy. Why do humans seem to consistently make things with the hope of making life better, only to make it worse? Is this the human condition?

 

This week we will discuss the most recent version of this puzzle. We will also consider one solution that emerges from recent work on cultural evolution and its relation to biology. Could this solution help us think about how to better design AI and Big Data technology?

Week 2: Knowledge

The scientific revolution provided a model of knowledge that enabled technological progress on an order never before seen. What is the scientific method? 

 

Many proponents of so-called Big Data Mining argue that the scientific method will soon become obsolete. What is knowledge and how is Big Data reshaping what it means to know something?

Week 3: Privacy

Do you value your privacy? Why or why not? Do current privacy laws really protect our privacy? 

 

Many philosophers worry that Big Data technologies have already created a world where privacy is seriously threatened. If we better understand why privacy is valuable, can we better promote and protect our informational privacy?

Week 4: Social Justice

What is Justice? What is Social Justice? This week we will focus on what discrimination is and why many think it is a matter of Justice. 

 

Big Data technologies are, arguably, creating The Scored Society. Do these technologies discriminate? Are they unjust? If so, what can we do about it?

Week 5: Love

What is Love and why is it valuable? Are digital technologies providing a poor replacement for genuine human connection? Are we more connected to Artificial Intelligence and our screens than we are to other people? If so, could we make these connections more authentic and valuable?  This week we will study two opposing views on Love and AI.