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PHI 104 — Minds and Machines: A Philosophical Exploration of AI and Consciousness

Quarter: Summer
Instructor(s): Forrest Hartman
Duration: 8 weeks
Format/Location: On-campus
Date(s): Jun 25—Aug 13
Class Recording Available: No
Class Meeting Day: Tuesdays
 
Class Meeting Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Tuition: $465
   
Refund Deadline: Jun 27
 
Unit(s): 1
   
Status: Open
 
Quarter: Summer
Day: Tuesdays
Duration: 8 weeks
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Date(s): Jun 25—Aug 13
Unit(s): 1
Format/Location: On-campus
 
Tuition: $465
 
Refund Deadline: Jun 27
 
Instructor(s): Forrest Hartman
 
Recording Available: No
 
Status: Open
 
Attempts to create intelligent machines raise philosophical questions about the criteria for evaluating how intelligence, consciousness, and thinking could apply to machines of our own making. What is human thought? What is consciousness? What is intelligence? Can the dynamics of human thought be replicated? These are the fundamental questions that the field of artificial intelligence has to grapple with. We will begin by considering the Turing test, which modeled the brain as a computer in a primitive attempt to evaluate intelligence. Soon viewed as too reductionist, the Turing test quickly lost favor as philosophers turned to suggesting a more phenomenological way of seeing the question, drawing on the work of Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty and the concepts of “situation” and “embodiment.” We will look at how the latest innovation in AI, which is behind today’s self-driving cars, tries to incorporate the concerns of this phenomenological approach. Specific topics we will cover include John Searle’s Chinese Room Argument, the frame problem, and why AI has not lived up to its expectations.

FORREST HARTMAN
Senior Adjunct, Critical Studies Program, California College of the Arts

Forrest Hartman’s research interests are based in the history of ideas and cultural studies, especially the relationship between the sciences and society, with a focus on the impact of artificial intelligence and the rise of the robots as a transformative force. He received a PhD in rhetoric/philosophy from UC Berkeley and a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Jerry Kaplan, Artificial Intelligence: What Everyolne Needs to Know (ISBN 978-0190602390)
(Required) Stuart M. Shieber, The Turing Test: Verbal Behavior as the Hallmark of Intelligence (ISBN 978-0262692939)