Topics, Readings, and Assignments
Readings are "required", "recommended", or "extra". Required readings should be
done before class for the discussion to make sense. Recommended readings will be
used as sources in lecture, but we won't assume you've read them.
More information about the assignments, including the essays, can be found on the assignments page.
12/01 Lecture 14: The Distant Future (Slides)
Please complete this short Lecture 14 survey by Tuesday 11/30 @ 11:59 PM!
- Recommended: Either of Harris, Sam, Can we build AI without losing control over it? OR Bostrom, Nick, What happens when our computers get smarter than we are?
- Recommended: Heaven, Will, "Artificial general intelligence: Are we close, and does it even make sense to try?" (download then open file locally; you might need to open the link in a new window to start the download)
- Recommended: Brooks, Rodney, The Seven Deadly Sins of Predicting the Future of AI
- Extra: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Qualia
- Extra: Acemoglu, Daron, "The AI we should fear is already here"
- Extra: Ryan, Jackson, "Experiments to dim the sun: Why we need to talk about solar geoengineering
11/17 Lecture 13: Wealth and Finance (Slides)
Please complete this short Lecture 13 survey by Tuesday 11/16 @ 11:59 PM!
11/10 Lecture 12: Megan Phelps-Roper (Slides)
Please complete this short Lecture 12 survey by Tuesday 11/9 @ 11:59 PM!
Required: Without Fail (Alex Blumberg), "How Megan Phelps-Roper Left the Westboro Baptist Church"
11/03 Lecture 11: Labor (Guest Lecture by Ari Edmundson)
- Required: Veena Dubal, "Digital Piecework", Dissent, Fall 2020.
- Recommended: Sam Adler Bell, "Surviving Amazon", Logic Magazine Issue 8 August 3rd, 2019
- Recommended: Aaron Benanav, "A World Without Work?" Dissent, Fall 2020
- Optional: Kate Crawford, "Labor", Atlas of AI, (Yale UP, 2021)
- Optional: "My Boss in an Algorithm" Webinar discussion with Niels van Doorn and Julie Chen, Global Digital Cultures
10/27 Lecture 10: Fireside Chat
Please complete this short Lecture 10 survey by Tuesday 10/26 @ 11:59 PM!
10/20 Lecture 9: Software Risks and Algorithmic Bias (Slides)
Please complete this short Lecture 9 survey by Tuesday 10/19 @ 11:59 PM!
- Required: Fabio, Adam, "Killed by a Machine: The Therac-25"
- Recommended: Hao, Karen, "Should a self-driving car kill the baby or the grandma? Depends on where you're from." (Optional: take the test, visualize the results, or read the journal publication)
- Optional: Neumann, Peter G., "Risks of Automation: A Cautionary Total-System Perspective of Our Cyberfuture" (need to read on campus or through campus VPN)
- Optional: Tufekci, Zeynep, "We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads" (video)
Please complete this short Lecture 8 survey by Tuesday 10/12 @ 11:59pm.
- Recommended: Mozur, "A Genocide Incited on Facebook, With Posts From Myanmar’s Military"
- Recommended: Barwick, Ryan, "Brands are still playing ball with clickbait ad sites, advertising’s roach that will survive the bomb"
- Extra: Smiley, "The College Kids Doing What Twitter Won't"
- Extra: Garrett, Resnick, "Resisting Political Fragmentation on the Internet"
- Extra: Kolbert, "Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds"
- Extra: McClain, Collen, "70% of U.S. social media users never or rarely post or share about political, social issues"
10/06 Lecture 7: Memes (Slides)
Please complete this short Lecture 7 survey by Tuesday 10/05 @ 11:59pm.
- Recommended: Pearson, Rix (?), "The Holiest of Yields"
- Recommended: Chayka, Kyle, "Ivermectin, the Crate Challenge, and the Danger of Runaway Memes"
- Recommended: CGP Gray, "This Video Will Make You Angry"
- Extra: Heath, Bell, Sternberg, "Emotional selection in memes: the case of urban legends" (required Berkeley VPN)
- Extra: Shullenberger, "Mimesis, Violence, and Facebook: Peter Thiel's French Connection" (very weird/questionable read, but interesting)
09/29 Lecture 6: Copyright & Patents (Slides)
Please complete this short Lecture 6 survey by Tuesday 9/28 @ 11:59pm.
- Required: Stallman, Richard, "Misinterpreting Copyright—A Series of Errors"
- Recommended: Mullin, Joe, "'Your criticisms are completely wrong': Stallman on software patents, 20 years in"
- Optional: EFF, "Victory for Fair Use: The Supreme Court Reverses the Federal Circuit in Oracle v. Google"
- Optional: Stallman, Richard, "The Danger of Software Patents" (video)
- Optional: Heckel, Paul, "Debunking the Software Patent Myths"
09/22 Lecture 5: Education (Slides)
Please complete this survey by 11:59 PM on Monday 9/20.
09/15 Lecture 4: Jobs and Technology (Slides)
Please complete this short Lecture 4 survey by Tuesday 9/14 @ 11:59pm.
09/08 Lecture 3: Government Censorship and Surveillance (Slides)
Please complete this short Lecture 3 survey by Monday 9/6 @ 11:59pm. If you're late that's OK, but earlier responses make it easier for me to tailor the lecture to your interests.
U.S. Tech Companies and Chinese Censorship and Surveillance:
Historical Censorship and Surveillance in the U.S.:
09/01 Lecture 2: Privacy (Slides)
Please complete this short Lecture 2 survey by Tuesday 8/31 @ 11:59pm.
08/25 Lecture 1: Free Speech (Slides)