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55741-01 - Seminar: Changing Society. How Algorithms are Taking Over the World 3 KP

Semester Herbstsemester 2019
Angebotsmuster einmalig
Dozierende Roberto Simanowski (r.simanowski@unibas.ch, BeurteilerIn)
Inhalt Algorithms are the driving force of the digital revolution, increasingly ruling how society is organized and how humans interact. The power of algorithms is illustrated by various neologisms that permeate contemporary discourse: algorithmic analysis, algorithmic regulation, algorithmic prediction, algorithmic bias, algorithmic criticism, and algorithmic intelligence. Though indicating new possibilities and triggering many expectations such neologisms also reveal fears. The seminar investigates the change our society is undergoing and will undergo in the years to come and engages with the academic debate of the promises and perils of such change. We will focus on the ethical and legal consequences of (self-learning) algorithms and the response necessary from lawmakers and society as well as on the sociological and philosophical aspects of the changing relationship between humans and technology.

The readings include official documents by governmental ethics commissions, academic investigations, futuristic and fictional treaties as well as classical texts from sociology and philosophy on the role of technology in human history. The seminar will be offered in three blocks of two double sessions (180 min) each on Thursday and Friday afternoon. Classes will be conducted in English. The reading per session ranges between 20 and 40 pages. There are also individual readings (including texts in German) that are to be introduced to the classroom as input lectures by students.
Lernziele The broader goal of the course is to identify and discuss the ways in which new technologies have affected our self-understanding and patterns of interpersonal communication. In particular, the course aims at giving students tools to develop an understanding of the political, social, and ethical ramifications of artificial intelligence. Students will be familiar with the promises and and perils surrounding the advent of artificial intelligence. They will learn to apply different perspectives to the subject and to see the development of artificial intelligence as (a specific) part of human history and vocation.
Literatur - Frank Pasqualle: The Black Box Society. The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information, Harvard University Press 2015
- Patrick Lin, Keith Abney, Ryan Jenkins (ed.): Robot Ethics 2.0. From Autonomous Cars to Artificial Intelligence, Oxford University Press 2017
- Luciana Floridi et. al: “AI4People—An Ethical Framework for a Good AI Society: Opportunities, Risks, Principles, and Recommendations”, Mind and Machines, 28 (2018), pp. 689–707
- Yuval Noah Harari: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. New York: Harper 2017
- Ernst Cassirer: “Form and Technology.” Sissel Hoel, Ingvild Folkvord (ed.): Ernst Cassirer on Form and Technology: Contemporary Readings, New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2012, pp. 15-53
Bemerkungen The seminar aims at MA-students equipped with basic knowledge about the subject. The number of enrollments is limited to 25 with preference given to students enrolled in sociology.


Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien kein spezifischer Einsatz


Intervall Block
Datum 03.10.2019 – 01.11.2019
Zeit Siehe Detailangaben
Datum Zeit Raum
Donnerstag 03.10.2019 15.15-18.45 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 103
Freitag 04.10.2019 13.15-16.45 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 103
Donnerstag 17.10.2019 15.15-18.45 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 103
Freitag 18.10.2019 13.15-16.45 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 103
Donnerstag 31.10.2019 15.15-18.45 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 103
Freitag 01.11.2019 13.15-16.45 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 103
Module Modul: Erweiterung Gesellschaftswissenschaften M.A. (Master Studienfach Politikwissenschaft)
Modul: Erweiterung Religionswissenschaft MA (Master Studienfach Religionswissenschaft)
Modul: Research Lab Kulturanthropologie (Master Studienfach Kulturanthropologie)
Modul: Soziologische Theorie MA (Master Studienfach Soziologie)
Leistungsüberprüfung Lehrveranst.-begleitend
Hinweise zur Leistungsüberprüfung Performance will be assessed by short input-presentations, taking minutes, as well as the preparation and moderation of discussions.
An-/Abmeldung zur Leistungsüberprüfung Anmelden: Belegen; Abmelden: nicht erforderlich
Wiederholungsprüfung keine Wiederholungsprüfung
Skala Pass / Fail
Wiederholtes Belegen nicht wiederholbar
Zuständige Fakultät Philosophisch-Historische Fakultät, studadmin-philhist@unibas.ch
Anbietende Organisationseinheit Fachbereich Soziologie