M/W/F 02:00-03:00 35 Evans Instructor: Kfir Cohen
In this course we will develop writing and argumentative skills through exploring theoretical and imaginative texts that revolve around technology, science and social order. We will read texts that take up the questions of artificial intelligence and human attachment (Ex-Machina), the relation between justice and techniques of scientific prediction (Foundation, Minority Report), and time travel (The Time Machine) among others. We will watch several contemporary films and read a variety of texts from different historical periods and cultural traditions, focusing specifically on sci-fi and utopian/distopian fiction. The following questions will underlie a few of our discussions: can humans attach to inanimate machines and if so what do such attachments teach us about relationships with humans? Why are we both fascinated and deeply anxious about the possibility of artificial intelligence such as cyborgs and robots? Why do science and scientific innovation are used as models to imagine perfect societies and why such models usually fail? How do sci-fi texts encode implicit utopian wishes and why is the genre a ripe site for such social thinking?