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Course Description

HAL 9000, Terminator, Blade Runner’s replicants, Eva from Ex Machina: films are replete with very intelligent machines, which in most cases hate humans and want to destroy us. Until recently these characters were considered pure fantasies, but nowadays the situation is different. More and more, machines organize and control our lives, solve problems, and do thingsthat would be impossible for us, while some of them look almost exactly like humans (think ofSophia,the robotthatin 2017was given citizenship bySaudiArabia).A.I.seems close to succeeding. In this lunch seminar, we will explore some of the deepest and most fascinating philosophical and ethical questions that the rise of A.I. has generated. Is it possible to build machines that feel sentiments, have minds, and act freely? (These questions of course require that we become clearer on what would count for us as feeling sentiments, having a mind, or acting feely.) Will some of them ever gain the status of moral entities? If they do, which duties and rights should we attribute to them? And (of course) how could we assess the notorius issue whether I.A. can revolt against humans? In discussing these questions, we will use readings by philosophers, scientists, and science-fiction writers, watch clips from movies, and host guestspeakers.

Basic Enrollment Requirements: Unofficial Transcript – High School Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, or progress towards a Bachelor’s Degree – 3.0 GPA

Instructor Approval: Not required

Remission Eligible: Yes, first day of term; all university policies apply

Refund Policy: For-Credit 3+ Weeks

Affiliated With:

School of Engineering