As human interactions choices and relationships are increasingly mediated by computing and information technologies we find ourselves facing new variations of age-old philosophical questions. This course examines how certain technologies force us to rethink classic philosophical questions about the value of freedom and equality. On the technology side we examine the widespread replacement of human decision making with algorithms; how recommender systems shape information flow and user choice; the proliferation and uses of personal data; and the human impact of interface design. On the philosophy side we consider moral and political questions including what does it mean to be free and equal persons in society? What do justice and fairness require? When are our choices truly our own? What are the necessary conditions of democracy? For those interested in philosophy the course serves as an introduction to central ideas in liberal thought. For those interested in technology the course offers tools for assessing the moral and political ramifications of various technologies.
Harvard Division of Continuing Education
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