Course code:



M - Intermediate

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:


This is a course in future studies and political philosophy focusing on the nature of artificial intelligence (AI) and its implications for human ecology in the modes of thought, forms of collaborative decision-making, and in the structures of institutions, societies and culture in US and around the globe in the coming decades. We will critically examine a series of prominent models for understanding different ways artificial intelligence works and is transforming our societies and landscapes. We will critically examine and experiment with some key methods in futures studies to look at possible futures, assess their attractiveness and probability, and consider what steps might be taken to promote or prevent them. Methods considered will include, for instance: variations of extrapolation techniques, futures markets, scenario building, the Delphi process of consensus and futures imaging. A weekend workshop on futures imaging will be included as part of the course. Texts will include materials from Yuval Harari’s Homo Deus, Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence, and a wide variety of short essays and website materials. Assignments will include short homework exercises, two problem sets, and a series of short papers building to a final project on a topic of the student’s interest. Topics could include, for example, the impact of drones and cyber warfare on the national security state system, the role of automated and/or distance learning in transforming education, the use of AI to monitor and manipulate environmental systems, or transformations of health care or food systems in light of AI when combined with nanotechnology, genetic modification, or big data. Student work will be evaluated on the extent to which it demonstrates the development of skills for critically understanding, assessing, and appropriately using the theories and methods covered in the course both in written projects as individuals and in collaborative discussions and workshop activities.


A readiness to engage with theoretical models, methodological techniques and philosophical questions in disciplined and critical ways.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.