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Artificial intelligence (AI) and new digital technologies are affecting almost every aspect of modern society. These developments have many beneficial consequences. The varied uses of AI also raise a host of concerns, including about their impact on employment, health and safety, interpersonal relationships, human rights, discrimination, and human autonomy. Developing sound ethical, policy and legal responses to AI requires expertise from the technical fields, especially maths, computer science and engineering, and also the social sciences and humanities, including sociology, psychology, criminology, history, ethics, and philosophy. This subject uses interdisciplinary perspectives to investigate AI, ethics and the law.
Topics will include investigating:
- What is AI?
- Current uses of AI in society
- Frameworks for ethical AI, including fairness, accountability and safety
- Technical responses, including transparency and explainability in AI
- Legal regimes, including privacy, consumer law, discrimination and human rights law
- Public and private accountability.
These issues will be explored through the use of case studies, including:
- Uses of AI in the workplace
- AI home assistants
- Autonomous vehicles
- AI and robots in medicine
- AI in media, including social media platforms
- AI in decision-making by governments, courts, police and other public institutions
- Military uses of AI.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed the subject should have:
- Acquired an understanding of the contribution from different fields, including science and the humanities, into the policy and legal questions raised by AI.
- Obtained a general knowledge of the legal issues raised by AI.
- Analysed and applied the legal responses to AI in a range of current contexts.
- Have developed skills to be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field of AI.
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding AI to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences.
On completion of this subject, students should have developed skills in:
- Reading inter-disciplinary material in preparation for class;
- Analysing conceptual and practical human rights problems;
- Using legal norms as the basis for advocacy;
- Writing clearly for assignments; and
- Verbal communication through group discussions in tutorials.
Last updated: 1 June 2020