Fordham, New York City's Jesuit University
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Fordham College at Lincoln Center

Department of Computer & Information Sciences


 Semester:  Spring, 2008
 Course Number:  CSLV 4660 001
 Course Title:  Minds, Machines, & Society
 Instructor:  Dr. Robert K. Moniot
    Office LL 821-A, Phone (212) 636-6302
    Office hours: TF 2:30-3:30 PM
    Other office hours by appointment (I am in most anytime)
 Class Hours:  TF 1:00-2:15PM, Room LL 419
 Required Text:  None: there will be required readings of selected articles and book chapters.

Course Outline: We will begin with an examination of the current status of computers, the science of computing, and information technology. We will then explore possible directions that this technology may take in the future, and what impact these developments will have on society. We will examine the depiction of technology by the media and the technology industry, and compare this with the present reality and realistic future possibilities. An important element of our discussion will be the questions of what it means to be intelligent, and whether human-like artificial intelligence is likely, feasible, or even possible.

The course will be conducted in a seminar mode, oriented primarily around class discussion. In the second half of the semester, each student is expected to give a short (20-minute) presentation on the topic of her or his final paper.

It will not be necessary for the students to have any specialized training in computer or information science. Most of the issues can be understood without any detailed knowledge of the workings of the underlying technology. In any case, the analysis of these issues from a moral perspective is not dependent on their technological basis.

This course fulfills the core requirement of a Senior Values Seminar. It is not applicable toward the major in Computer Science.

Protocol: Attendance is mandatory, and is graded, mainly on the extent to which students contribute to the discussion.

Grade will be based on class participation (15%), an in-class presentation (15%), several 2-3 page essays (25%), a final exam (20%), and a final research paper (25%).

Late papers will be accepted, but with a penalty that increases with time. The essays will be based mainly on material discussed in class and on the assigned readings. The final paper must be based on research and written in proper scholarly style, with references for all sources consulted. See the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers or similar work for guidelines on proper citation style. Academic integrity is very important to the mission of the university. Plagiarism or failure to properly cite sources will result in an F on the paper and may result in an F for the course.

If you believe that you have a disabling condition that may interfere with your ability to participate in the activities, coursework, or assessment of the object of this course, you may be entitled to accommodations. If so, please schedule an appointment to speak with me immediately or you may go to the Office of Disability Services (Room LL-207, x6282).

Robert Moniot 2008-01-14