PHIL 143.001 – AI and the Future of Humanity: Philosophical Issues about Technology and Human Survival
Instructor: Z Quanbeck. This course meets MTWRF 1:15 – 2:45 p.m. via remote synchronous (RS) instruction.
In light of recent advances in AI—including DALL-E, ChatGPT, and Bing AI (aka “Sydney”)—the world we live in is rapidly and dramatically changing. In this course, we will consider some of the ethical questions these technological changes raise, both in the present and for the future of humanity.
Questions we will examine include:
• In what contexts should we rely on algorithms or AI systems to make decisions?
• Under what conditions do AI entities have rights or merit moral consideration?
• Are genuine interpersonal relationships between humans and AI entities either possible or desirable?
• What are the differences between “reality” and “virtual reality,” and what are the ethical implications of these differences?
• How might developments in AI and biotechnology affect what it means to be human?
• Is immortality desirable?
• What implications does AI have for the long-term survival and flourishing of humanity?
• Should we care about the long-term future of humanity, and if so, why?
• What do we owe to future people?
This will be a primarily discussion-based course, and active engagement with class discussion is expected.