Full course description
The course Artificial Society will train students in addressing contemporary discussion on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is embedded in society. The course starts from the acknowledgement that current debates about AI are predicated on earlier experiences and discussions. The hopes and concerns of AI show an historical variety, and this matters for current debates. In this course we follow seven decades of AI, roughly attributed to the following themes:
Themes of Artificial Society:
1950s/60s: computers taking over manual labour
1970s: computers taking over intellectual labour
1980s: limitations of AI
1990s: new ideas on intelligence
2000s utopias of AI
2010s: algorithms & datafication
While the themes, of course, are not neatly limited to one particular decade, they characterize the discussion on the societal ramifications of AI in a particular era. It helps students to grasp current debates when they recognize the longer themes.
In this course we will follow the six themes subsequently. In each theme, we will explore (i) the societal debate at that time (ii) the technical progress at that time (iii) the state of philosophical reflection at that time. Together, the themes provide a good introduction into what AI in society could mean.
At the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Recognize and characterize the interdisciplinary questions (historical, political, philosophical, cultural, sociological) pertaining to AI’s role in societal developments. [2.1]
- Follow an author’s argument and indicate how it resonates with older discussions [2.1]
- Recognize and situate arguments in broader debates and critically engage. [2.2]
- Compare, contrast and assess arguments on AI and society. [2.2]
- Build an argument in relevant debates on AI and society, including the use of pertinent examples to clarify theoretical positions. [2.2]
The course material will consist of a reader that will be made available through Reference List.