AI & Humanity

by Nourbakhsh, Keating

ISBN: 9780262043847 | Copyright 2020

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An examination of the implications for society of rapidly advancing artificial intelligence systems, combining a humanities perspective with technical analysis; includes exercises and discussion questions.

AI & Humanity provides an analytical framing and a common language for understanding the effects of technological advances in artificial intelligence on society. Coauthored by a computer scientist and a scholar of literature and cultural studies, it is unique in combining a humanities perspective with technical analysis, using the tools of literary explication to examine the societal impact of AI systems. It explores the historical development of these technologies, moving from the apparently benign Roomba to the considerably more sinister semi-autonomous weapon system Harpy.
The book is driven by an exploration of the cultural and etymological roots of a series of keywords relevant to both AI and society. Works examined range from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, given a close reading for its themes of literacy and agency, to Simon Head's critique of the effects of surveillance and automation on the Amazon labor force in Mindless.

Originally developed as a textbook for an interdisciplinary humanities-science course at Carnegie Mellon, AI & Humanity offers discussion questions, exercises (including journal writing and concept mapping), and reading lists. A companion website provides updated resources and a portal to a video archive of interviews with AI scientists, sociologists, literary theorists, and others.

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Contents (pg. vii)
Preface (pg. ix)
Acknowledgments (pg. xiii)
1. Introduction (pg. 1)
Discussion Questions (pg. 7)
2. Technology and Society (pg. 9)
Sources (pg. 10)
Guiding Issues (pg. 10)
Language: Technology and Society (pg. 11)
Society (pg. 13)
Machine Rapture: The Evolution of Internet Technology (pg. 15)
Societal Impact and Technology Today (pg. 17)
Discussion Questions (pg. 21)
3. Labor and the Self (pg. 23)
Sources (pg. 24)
Guiding Issues (pg. 24)
Language: Labor and Humanity (pg. 25)
Frederick Douglass (pg. 27)
Human Self, Cyborg Self (pg. 30)
Discussion Questions (pg. 35)
4. (In)equality and (Post)humanity (pg. 37)
Sources (pg. 38)
Guiding Issues (pg. 38)
Language: Equality and Humanity (pg. 39)
Four Industrial Revolutions (pg. 41)
The Consumer as Digital Laborer (pg. 49)
Discussion Questions (pg. 54)
5. Surveillance, Information, Network (pg. 55)
Sources (pg. 56)
Guiding Issues (pg. 56)
Language: Information and Network (pg. 58)
The Panopticon (pg. 60)
Wars on Terror and Modern Surveillance (pg. 64)
After Data (pg. 65)
Watson: A Case Study in Deep Data (pg. 67)
Discussion Questions (pg. 75)
6. Weaponry, Agency, Dehumanization (pg. 77)
Sources (pg. 78)
Guiding Issues (pg. 78)
Language: Agency (pg. 79)
Robot Autonomy and Agency (pg. 80)
The Science of Robotic Mimesis (pg. 88)
Utilitarian Robotics (pg. 89)
Future of Labor, Future of Agency (pg. 90)
Watchtowers, Drones, and Shifting Theaters of War (pg. 92)
Autonomy and Weaponry (pg. 97)
Discussion Questions (pg. 100)
7. Shaping Our Future (pg. 101)
Sources (pg. 102)
Guiding Issues (pg. 102)
Education (pg. 103)
Design (pg. 106)
Leading and Governance (pg. 109)
Discussion Questions (pg. 111)
Appendix A: Sample Assignments (pg. 113)
Journal Entry Assignment Instructions (pg. 115)
Concept Map Assignment Instructions (pg. 115)
Chapter Assignment Samples (pg. 116)
Appendix B: Sample Rubrics (pg. 123)
Appendix C: Concept Mapping Primer (pg. 125)
Appendix D: Sample Course Syllabus (pg. 127)
AI & Humanity (pg. 127)
Notes (pg. 131)
Preface (pg. 131)
1. Introduction (pg. 131)
2. Technology and Society (pg. 131)
3. Labor and the Self (pg. 132)
4. In(equality) and Post(humanity) (pg. 133)
5. Surveillance, Information, Network (pg. 134)
6. Weaponry, Agency, Dehumanization (pg. 134)
7. Shaping Our Future (pg. 136)
Bibliography (pg. 137)
Index (pg. 141)
Color Plates (pg. Color Plate )

Illah Reza Nourbakhsh Nourbakhsh

Illah Reza Nourbakhsh is K&L Gates Professor of Ethics and Computational Technologies in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of Robot Futures and coauthor of Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots (both published by the MIT Press).


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