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PHIL2008 Machine Minds and Superintelligence: The Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence

Credit
6 points
Offering
(see Timetable)
AvailabilityLocationMode
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Philosophy major sequence
Content
Artificial intelligence (AI) is developing at an astonishing speed and will soon influence many aspects of our lives. This unit is an introduction to the fascinating philosophical questions concerning AI: Can machines really have a mind? Are we ourselves just biological machines? What are the risks and benefits of AI? Will there ever be superintelligent machines? Is it possible to survive mind-uploading?

Topics may include: (1) the computational theory of mind; (2) Connectionism and neural networks; (3) the nature of computation and implementation; (4) the Turing Test; (5) Searle's Chinese Room argument (6) the extended mind hypothesis; (6) the theoretical prospects for and practical consequences of superintelligent AI; (7) the alignment problem for AI; (8) AI risk; (9) Mind-uploading.
Outcomes
Students are able to (1) evaluate arguments in philosophical texts; (2) independently construct arguments for philosophical positions; (3) apply the methodologies of contemporary philosophy; (4) demonstrate strong written communication and research skills; (5) demonstrate an understanding of some of the fundamental problems in the philosophy of artificial intelligence and mind.; (6) critically review different approaches to the philosophy of artificial intelligence and mind.; and (7) evaluate important theoretical, practical and ethical consequences of artificial intelligence research..
Assessment
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) in-class assessment; (2) essay(s); and (3) exam. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Clas Weber
Unit rules
Prerequisites:
Any Level 1 unit
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
Nil
Contact hours
3 hours per week
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  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.