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Philosophy of AI

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is everywhere these days. Or is it? Plenty of things get labeled "A.I.", certainly, but what exactly is meant by that label? This initial question leads to some deep and interesting philosophical issues: What is it to think? Are thought and intelligence separable from conscious experience? How different can a form of thinking or experience be from our own, and yet still count as thinking or experience? And even if we set these matters aside, the "A.I." that is already around us - more and more each day - raises huge social and ethical questions. Does reliance on algorithms and machine learning (e.g. when banks make lending decisions or when courts impose criminal sentences) improve fairness or actually make things worse? As machines become more "intelligent" (e.g. self-driving cars or healthcare robots), who is held responsible if things go wrong? Will the machines themselves eventually have to be seen as having rights of their own? Students will explore these wide-ranging issues through readings, discussion, and a variety of activities and projects.


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Session One
at the time of application
Scheduled Class Time*

08:00 AM - 11:00 AM (PDT)

*The course will meet for two hours daily (Monday–Friday) for a live class during this window of time. The exact time will be set closer to the program start. In addition to the live meeting times, students will engage in out-of-class learning assignments such as assigned readings, group work, pre-recorded online lectures, and more.