AI and Humanities - Language, Literature, and Ethics

Next Offered
Autumn 2020
Interested in exploring how Arts & Humanities can address ethical and social implications of Artificial Intelligence? Want to learn what Mary Shelley has in common with Siri?


In this Early Fall program we will explore how arts and humanities can help us better understand artificial intelligence (AI) and address some of the pressing ethical questions the new technologies pose. Set in Ljubljana, Slovenia, one of the centers for AI in Europe, our main course will combine the study of basic quantitative methods behind AI with the study of literary texts. Fiction predicted many virtual technologies before they were scientifically implemented and offered the first public space to discuss their ramifications. We will use language and literature to address some of the pressing questions: how does AI work and how can we use language data to better understand it? What are the ethical implications of emerging technologies such as human-like virtual entities and robots? What should be the policies and the governance surrounding AI? How could AI be more inclusive? How can we use fiction to find answers, even if imaginary, to these questions? What ethical dilemmas might be anticipated in the future using literature as a testing ground for societal ramifications of new technologies? 


The ultimate goal of the program is for students to learn basic quantitative skills to understand how AI works, and learn to use arts and humanities as a means to address ethical challenges that the new technologies will bring in the future. Students interested in humanities and social sciences who would like to learn about AI and its quantitative background, as well as students from quantitative fields who want to learn to use humanities to address the ethics of AI, are especially welcome to apply (the program is open to non-UW students as well). No prior quantitative or computational skills are required.


Program Status