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Artificial Intelligence and Society

Course registration will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

Course Description

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how will it shape the world in the decades to come? What ideas enable machines to see, use language, and reason, and how will these machines affect the world? In this course, we'll jointly explore the central ideas and anticipated societal impacts of Artificial Intelligence.

The first week of the course we will focus on the techniques of AI. Students will learn to program in Scratch and Python through short hands on activities and get a flavor of the problems AI researchers care about. We'll then spend some time on machine vision, language, and learning, including a discussion of the most recent AI systems, such as DeepMind’s AlphaGo that recently beat the world champion at the board game Go.

The second week will focus on the future. What problems do AI researchers find most important in the next decade? How close are we to solving them? We'll take a look at a recent study forecasting the role of AI in the world for the next 100 years, as well as the White House's take on the future of AI. Students will be expected to complete a project applying their newly developed programming skills to create an AI that learns to play a simple game, or apply machine learning techniques to a problem of the student’s choosing.

By the end of the course, students will get a taste of programming, math, philosophy, and the excitement of working on a technology shaping future generations. They'll be well equipped to critically evaluate news and fiction related to AI, and to develop their own projects using machine learning and programming. The tools of AI are far reaching and can be useful to Environmental Science, Egyptology, Physics, Sociology, Linguistics, and more; learning these skills can prepare students for a career in nearly any field in the coming decades.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for the course, though it is encouraged that students are curious about the material and are interested in learning to program!