PHIL 241 Semester Schedule

Please Note: Based on Class Discussion and Interest, we may revise the schedule as we go through the  semester.

 

 Week 1:  Big Picture, Technology and What We Value

8/30  Introductions -  The Happiness Problem and a Puzzle About Technology

 

9/1  More on the Big Picture:  Rescher “Technological Progress and Human Happiness” All, Leo Marx “Does Improved Technology Mean Progress?” All, Winner  “The Search For A New Ethic” pg. 130134

 

 

Week 2:  Ethics and Digital Ethics

9/6   Sandel  “The Greatest Happiness Principle”; Rachels “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism” & “Subjectivism in Ethics”

 

9/8  Sandler  Chapter 1 “Technology and Ethics”,  Floridi & Taddeo “What is Data Ethics?”, StrauB “Datafication and the Seductive Power of Uncertainty – A Critical Exploration of Big Data Enthusiasm”

 

 

Week 3:  Social Justice

9/13  Zarsky  “Understanding Discrimination in the Scored Society”  (Also: See Supplemental readings)

 

9/15   Johnson “Algorithmic Bias: On the Implicit Biases of Social Technology”

 

 

Week 4: Social Justice: Predictive Policing

9/20 Brantingham, et al “Does Predictive Policing Lead to Biased Arrests?”   ProPublica “Machine Bias” & “Racial Bias Observed in Hate Speech Detection Algorithm”

 

9/22  Research Module and Reporting Out:   AI Policing and Ethical Analysis. Learn How to Research What is Interesting and Important.

 

 

Week 5:  Predictive Policing

9/27  Research Module and Reporting Out: Learn How to Research What is Interesting and Important.

 

9/29 Research Module and Reporting Out:  Learn How to Research What is Interesting and Important.

 

Week 6: Privacy:  Why does it matter? Is it Dead?

 

10/4 Rachels “Why Privacy Is Important”,  CASE

 

FALL BREAK

 

Week 7:  Privacy:  Why does it matter? Is it Dead?

 

10/11  A challenge or not?  Doyle  “Privacy and Perfect Voyeurism” AND  Read Kosinski et al HERE Read Narayanan and Schmatikov HERE

 

 

10/13  Richardson Chapt. 1  The Philosophical Foundations of Privacy

 

Week 8: What does Technology Have to Do with Being Free?

 

10/18  Stanley & Steinhardt  “Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains:  The Growth of an American Surveillance Society”

 

10/20  Sidney Fussell, “The Endless Aerial Surveillance of the Border” (The Atlantic, Oct 2019)

Tanvi Misra, “What Border Security and Police Violence Have in Common” (Bloomberg, Nov 2018)   Shirin Ghaffary, “The ‘smarter’ wall: How drones, sensors, and AI are patrolling the border” (Vox, Feb 2020)

 

 

 

Week 9: What does Technology Have to Do with Being Free?

 

10/25  A Social Media Problem:  Smith, C. H.. (2020). ‘Corporatised Identities ≠ Digital Identities: Algorithmic Filtering on Social Media and the Commercialisation of Presentations of Self’. In C. Burr and L. Floridi (Eds.) Ethics of Digital Well-Being. Springer.

 

10/27  Smart Devices, Social Media, and Antisocial Behavior  Sherry Turkle, Reclaiming Conversation (Penguin, 2015), selections:  “The Case for Conversation,” pp. 3-56

“Friendship,” pp. 137-76 “Education,” pp. 211-48  “The Public Square,” pp. 293-316

 

 

Week 10:  Social Media Continued

 

11/1   Smart Devices, Social Media, and Antisocial Behavior  Sherry Turkle, Reclaiming Conversation (Penguin, 2015), selections:  “The Case for Conversation,” pp. 3-56  “Friendship,” pp. 137-76  “Education,” pp. 211-48  “The Public Square,” pp. 293-316

 

11/3    In-Class Assignment and Discussion of Research Projects

 

 

Week 11:   AI and Automation, Part I – Alienation, Techno-Fetishism, and Human Labor

 

11/8   

 

  1. Nick Dyer-Witheford, Atle Mikkola Kjøsen, and James Steinhoff, Inhuman Power: Artificial

Intelligence and the Future of Capitalism (Pluto, 2019), “A Machine Can Be Made to Simulate

It” (from Introduction), and selections from Chapter 1: “Means of Cognition”

 

  1. Neil McArthur and Markie Twist, “For the love of technology! Sex robots and virtual reality” (The  Conversation, Feb 2019)

 

  1. GPT-3, “A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?” (The Guardian, Sep 2020)

 

11/10

 

  1.  Norman Geras, Literature of Revolution: Essays on Marxism (Verso, 2017), Chapter 2: “Fetishism”

  2. Astra Taylor, “The Automation Charade” (Logic, Aug 2018)

  3. Astra Taylor, “Sylvia Federici in Conversation with Astra Taylor” (interview), selection: “Robots All the Way Down” (The Believer, Jun 2019)

  4. Mike Cook, “A Basic Lack of Understanding” (Notes From Below, Mar 2018)

 

 

Week 12: :   AI and Automation, Part I – Alienation, Techno-Fetishism, and Human Labor

 

11/15   

  1. Kim Moody, “High-Tech, Low Growth: Robots and the Future of Work” (Historical Materialism,  2018), sections 1-3, 5-8

  2. Jason Prado, “Prospects for Organizing the Tech Industry” (Notes From Below, Mar 2018)

  3. Dyer-Witheford et al, “A Heptagon of Struggles,” from Inhuman Power

  4. Editorial Board, “Solidarity Letter: Tech Won’t Build It!” (Science for the People, Sep 201

  5.  

11/17  In-Class Assignment

 

 

Week 13:  Student Interest/Student Projects

 

11/22

 

THANKSGIVING BREAK

 

 

Week 14:  Student Interest/Student Projects

 

11/29

 

12/1

 

 

Week 15:  Student Interest/Student Projects

 

12/6

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