PHIL 143.001 – AI and the Future of Humanity: Philosophical Issues about Technology and Human Survival
Instructor: Thomas Hofweber. This course meets MW 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. in MY G202, 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 short- and long-term future of human beings. We will cover a variety of topics related to this set of issues, such as the threat of human extinction and the promise of novel ways of survival, the relationship between our human intelligence to artificial intelligence, the question whether virtual reality is just more reality or a form of an illusion, the relationship between intelligence and morality and the related question how an AI might acquire values, the challenges of AI safety and AI alignment, the question how advanced AI will shape the political and social order, the question how to explain the recommendations of machine learning systems and whether we can rely on them for high-stakes decisions, and many more. This course has no prerequisite, and thus no background in AI, machine learning, computer science, or philosophy will be assumed.