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Instructor: Rory Hanlon. This course meets via remote, mostly asynchronous (RM) instruction.

In this class, we will think together about the power, opportunity, and threat posed by rapidly advancing technology, specifically those that fall under the umbrella of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (and connected technologies like biological engineering and virtual reality). Centrally, we will think about the extent to which, and whether, we can control these technologies to be compatible with dignified human existence (and, indeed, how we should conceive of this ‘dignified human existence’). On the one hand, we will think together about concrete, urgent questions that such technologies give rise to: how to address the ‘existential risk’ of a superintelligence, deepfakes, or racist algorithms. On the other hand, we will see how these emerging technologies give new life or substance to classic philosophical questions: the nature of consciousness, perception, and a meaningful or good life. While reading a variety of philosophical texts on these issues, we will also watch science fiction films that present, explore, and confront these themes.