PHIL 143.001 – AI and the Future of Humanity: Philosophical Issues about Technology and Human Survival

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Instructor: Thomas Hofweber. This course meets MW 8:00 – 8:50 a.m. in AR 121, with a recitation on Fridays.

This course focuses on philosophical questions tied to advances in technology, in particular artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR), and how they affect, positively or negatively, the long-term future of human beings. We will discuss whether such technology is an extinction threat for humanity or a new horizon for a novel way of survival. We will discuss the moral challenges faced by the rise of advanced forms of AI: what do we owe them, how will they relate to us, and how could we influence that things will go well? And we will discuss more metaphysical problems related to virtual reality and artificial intelligence: is a virtual reality an illusion or just a different kind of reality? Can minds and consciousness be realized by machines or computers? Furthermore, we will investigate some philosophical issues concerning how AI will affect the organization of society, in particular concerning the future of work and the future of the criminal justice system.