Course Objective -
Through this course, we hope to motivate students to think critically about moral and social implications of advancements in machine learning and automation. A major purpose of this course would be to move beyond a strictly quantitative evaluation of learning algorithms (such as better accuracy, better scalability, etc.) to the more subtle yet possibly far-reaching socio-ethical effects it can have. This is perhaps not the first time such an analysis has been attempted but the facilitators feel that the qualitative and quantitative analyses are usually made by two disparate communities and are rarely presented together. Here we shall attempt to enable a preliminary discussion about both of these aspects of digital technology. The course will make heavy use of fictional media largely from the genre of speculative science fiction, including episodes of a television show called Black Mirror, and acclaimed near-future films such as Gattaca, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Her. The use of such media is to serve as potential case studies of the inherent difficulties of separating intended implications of technology from unintended ones. The ultimate goal of this undertaking is not to naysay the current approach to technology but to motivate an even stronger foundation, at least at a personal level, on which to formulate research of the future.
Course Description -
The class will meet once a week for two hours. In general, there are two main parts to each meeting: (1) the first hour will be spent viewing a TV episode or movie and (2) the second hour will be spent discussing and analyzing the themes/questions brought up by the episode/movie.
To get a ‘pass’ -
1. A student should not miss more than three classes barring exceptional circumstances.
2. Active and healthy participation in discussions is required.
3. The course will involve weekly writing assignments. At least three of these assignments need to be submitted over the course of the semester.
4. A case study will be assigned at the end of the semester that will require students to incorporate major themes that have been touched upon during the course.
No more than three classes can be missed. Exceptions can be made for valid reasons upon prior notification.
Weekly Assignments -
Each week -
(a) a writing assignment in the form of a >499-word essay will be given out. A student can pick any three of these assignments over the course of the semester.
(b) a reading assignment will be given pertaining to the following week’s theme of discussion. Students are expected to complete all readings before the following week’s class.
Course email - Please send questions regarding the course to firstname.lastname@example.org
|Section 1||Sujayam Saha, Christine Kuang||30||330 Evans||[W] 6:00PM-8:00PM||01/18/2017||