Topics in Science Fiction Cinema: Artificial Intelligence

This course is based on an analysis of Science Fiction films and related readings. Each term the course will explore a particular theme (e.g. time & technology; memory & identity etc.). In Fall 2016 we will focus on the emergence of artificial intelligence and the possibility of machinic consciousness.


Week 1: Introduction

Text: What’s Next for Artificial Intelligence?: Yann LeCun of Facebook, Luke Nosek of the Founders Fund, Nick Bostrom of Oxford University and Andrew Ng of Baidu on what life will look like in the age of the machines. Wall Street Journal. June 14 2016

Week 2: 

Text: Turing, A. (1950), “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” Mind, 59 (236): 433–60

Oppy, Graham and Dowe, David, "The Turing Test", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2016 Edition), Edward  N. Zalta (ed.)

Film: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Week 3:

Text:  Searle, John. R. (1980) Minds, brains, and programs. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3): 417-457

Cole, David, "The Chinese Room Argument"The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 

Film: Collosus: The Forbin Project (1970)

Week 4:

Texts: Understanding Artificial Intelligence from the editors of Scientific American (2002) Scientific American. 

Film: Wargames (1983)

Week 5:

Vinge, Vernor. The coming technological singularity: How to survive in the post-human era." (1993).  

The Singularity: A talk with Ray Kurzweil. (3/24/01) Edge  

Chalmers, David. "The singularity: A philosophical analysis." Journal of Consciousness Studies 

Film:  Terminator (1984)

Week 6:

Texts:  Omohundro, Stephen M. "The basic AI drives." AGI. Vol. 171. 2008.

 Yudkowsky, Eliezer. "Artificial intelligence as a positive and negative factor in global risk." Global catastrophic risks 1 (2008).

Film:  Her (2013)

Susan Schneider, 'The Philosophy of ‘Her.’  March 2 2014

Week 7:

Texts: Bostrom, Nick, and Eliezer Yudkowsky. "The ethics of artificial intelligence."The Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence (2014): 316-334.

Raffi Khatchadourian. The Doomsday Invention. New Yorker. November 23, 2015

Film: Ex Machina (2015)

* Allison de Fren Video:The Human Machine in Ex Machina