Science and Ethics (PHIL*6760) | College of Arts

Science and Ethics (PHIL*6760)

Code and section: PHIL*6760*01

Term: Winter 2020

Instructor: Gus Skorburg


This course will explore ethical issues arising from recent advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. These technologies increasingly touch all aspects of our lives, from our economy, healthcare systems, and food production, to our social interactions. We will engage questions such as the following: What can the sciences teach us about living well? Is technology value-neutral? How does technology change the nature of work? And research? Does Big Data ameliorate or exacerbate existing inequalities? Can algorithms be biased? How do recent developments in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence challenge fundamental philosophical concepts such as autonomy, explanation, causation, and responsibility? 


Course outline

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.