PSK 419 artificial intelligence & futurism


Who in the world am I? Ah that’s the great puzzle.

- Alice in the Wonderland

PSK 419 Artificial Intelligence and Futurism

Course Overview
The theory of relativity as it was stated by Albert Einstein claimed that the future is just out there. In a four-dimensional spacetime there exists our past, present, and future. Although this theory resembles some science fiction movies such as Back to the Future, it is real.

PSK 419 Artificial Intelligence and Futurism is a course designed to discuss humanity’s future with a special emphasis to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), its applications, and the role of psychology and psychologists in the 21st century and beyond. In other words, we are going to talk about what it is like to be a psychologist in a high-technology society. Robots, for example, are assumed to replace humans in many areas except psychologist and social workers because people will need such experts at most in the whole history of humankind.
Artificial intelligence and/or robotics are not the only topics to be discussed. In PSK 419 course we’ll find a chance to talk about, for example, climate change, transhumanism, internet of things, energy use, quantum mechanics,… and so on. Of course, our primary concern will be to understand human-technology interaction and its implications.

In addition to the topics above, we’ll also dive into core psychological concepts such as self, consciousness, freedom, and ethics. Therefore you may consider PSK 419 Artificial Intelligence and Futurism is a course about everything.

Course Format
Students are expected to have read each week’s reading(s) prior to class and to contribute to class discussion. Each student is expected to come to class prepared to summarize the key points of the readings and to participate in the discussion regarding it.

I. Creative Essays and Exams (30% of your total grade): In PSK 419 course, in addition to formal exams, you are going to be asked to present your knowledge in a critical and creative manner. Although the format is similar to standard examinations, the actual performance is dependent on your skills in analyzing, comprehension and written presentation. For these informed assignments and quizzes you will be able to use any material (books, your notes,… etc.).
II. Mid Term Exam (30% of your total grade): A classic, comprehensive, open-book mid term exam includes all topics discussed in class sessions.
III. Final Exam (40% of your total grade): A classic, comprehensive, open-book final exam includes all topics discussed in class sessions.

Main Reading Materials
Students may be asked to read and comment on some articles about each week’s topic. For related articles, please check out the course’s website. Other main reading materials are listed below.
‣ Asimov, I. (1950). I, robot. London: Harper Voyager.
‣ Kaplan, J. (2016). Artificial intelligence: What everyone needs to know. New York: Oxford Un. Press.
‣ Al-Khalili, J. (Ed.) (2017). What is next? Even scientists can’t predict the future - or can they? London: Profile Books.
‣ Kaku, M. (2018). The future of humanity: Transforming Mars, interstellar travel, immortality and our destiny beyond earth. London: Penguin Books.

Suggested Movies
Metropolis (1927)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Westworld (1973)
The Matrix (1999)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Wall-E (2008)
Ex Machina (2014)
Lucy (2014)
Extinction (2018)

See you on Wednesdays (14:00 - 15:50) at G-408.

Weekly Course Schedule

Week 01 (Sep., 26th): Introduction to AI and Futurism
(No reading assigned)

Week 02 (Oct., 3rd): Science and Fiction
(No reading assigned)

Week 03 (Oct., 10th): Bats, Zombies, and Us
Suggested Reading: What is it Likely to be a Bat?

Week 04 (Oct., 17th): The Self and Uncanny
Suggested Reading: Real Robots

Week 05 (Oct., 24th): The History of AI
Suggested Reading: Turing's 1950 Paper

Week 06 (Nov., 6th): Trends to Watch
(No reading assigned)

Week 08 (Nov., 21th): The New Story
(No reading assigned)

Week 09 (Nov., 28th): The Final Frontier
(No reading assigned)

Week 10 (Dec., 28th): The Absurd Story
(No reading assigned)