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Initial Curriculum Ideas

The most essential idea I can think of for this semester’s LIB200 class at the end of Fall I, is the notion of humanity and what that means now and into the future. The reason I want to consider this idea has to do with what my students have already been exposed to in films and readings up to this point. At present they are grappling with A.M Turing’s arguments about artificial intelligence and where that could take us in the near future. For instance, I think a couple or few chapters of Terkle’s book would make interesting reading for my students because of where they are in their intellectual journeys. Social robotics is a subject that has tantalized me for some time now, and my students have already read Frankenstein and are presently reading about technology and utopia in the late 19th & early 20th century. Part of what they are learning from such readings and films–The Time Machine, Metropolis, Modern Times, The World of Tomorrow, AI, The Stepford Wives, Blade Runner, etc.–is the notion of man’s capacity to create technology in his/her own image and the possibility of becoming more and more human in the process. Ethical questions, of course, will be raised concerning these technological developments, one might even say, paradigmatic shifts in thinking and sensibilities and the capacities of AI to become more humane and perfectible.

One comment

  1. I like how closely this connects to what your students are already grappling with. In future iterations of this course, do you think our conversations might lead you to shift the focus of your course more in favor of social robotics? What might you remove from your course to provide the “space” for this idea to be read about and discussed in more depth? Do you see a whole new focus emerging, new ideas for research papers for students (i.e. for them to follow up outside of whole class discussion), or something in between?

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