Current students

The course has been designed to provide a framework or set of intellectual tools to help students understand and evaluate technological change. These tools will be applied to the development of information technology, its interaction with society, and possible future scenarios. Selected topics include understanding digitization as culture, visions of the future and the perils of prediction, as well as issues related to application areas such as the home, manufacturing, office work, design and services, education, and law. The course will also consider some of the privacy and personal dignity issues associated with information technology.

Winter 2024

Instructor: Cosmin Munteanu 

The objective of this course is to introduce students to ethical and social concerns relating to Artificial Intelligence (AI). These concerns include historical determinism, governance, utopianism, biopower, human rights, robo-ethics, justice, accountability, and fairness. An overview will be provided on these issues as they arise in areas like art, commerce, education, finance, journalism, law, healthcare, transportation, warfare, and work.

Winter 2024

Instructor: Cameron Shelley

This course examines the interaction of the technologies developed by a culture with the values and social organization of that culture. The course exposes students to various definitions of society, technology and values, and it presents alternative views about how the three interact. These views are then applied to a number of spheres of influence, including patterns of employment and the role of work; medicine and health; polity and economy; sustainable development and the environment.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023 11:30 am - 1:00 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

How to Build Anything Ethically

This discussion of ethical decision making when building technologies in a ‘Good Way’ includes two examples. First, I illustrate how the protocol for building a Lakota sweat lodge can act as a framework for building a physical computing device. Next, I provide an example of how multiple streams of protocol are necessary to build an AI system as a confluence of ethics. Some ideas proposed here are not currently possible, some are possible if investment is made in the necessary research, and some are possible but only through a radical change in the way technology companies are run and the pyramid of compensation for the exploitation of resources is reversed.

Join via this Zoom link, passcode 756099.
Suzanne Kite is an award-winning Oglála Lakȟóta artist, composer, and academic. Her scholarship and practice explore contemporary Lakȟóta ontology (the study of beinghood in Lakȟóta), artificial intelligence, and contemporary art and performance. She creates interfaces and arranges software systems that engage the whole body, in order to imagine new ethical AI protocols that interrogate past, present, and future Lakȟóta  philosophies.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Critical Tech Talk: Black Media Philosophy and Beyond with Armond R. Towns

Much of the contemporary research on race in communication media studies begins with media representations. However, for this talk, Armond R. Towns will focus on the relationship between the modern research university, race, and the development of communication and media studies in the early and mid-twentieth century, with a focus specifically on US and Canadian communication and media studies. Like the modern university, the discipline of communication and media studies, Towns argues, has a difficulty with understanding non-Western life. This talk is a beginning conversation on how to push toward new forms of understanding humanity beyond Western life. The topic of who counts as human is crucial in a context where big tech aims to control the future of so-called humanity and the AI race closes the gap between human and machine communications.

This is a hybrid event and may be attended in-person or online.

The climate crisis calls for a massive and speedy transition away from fossil fuels towards energy systems based on renewable, clean sources like the sun, the wind and the tides. But to date, what we’re seeing is a move towards extractive, large-scale, corporate-owned for-profit models of green energy. These so-called solutions are replicating the social and environmental injustices perpetrated by the fossil fuel industry, including the rampant violation of Indigenous Rights and desecration of their lands and waters .

Upholding indigenous rights and fighting for a climate just future for all requires not just a change in energy sources, but a transformation in the very systems of power, governance, worldviews and values that have driven the climate crisis. In this talk Eriel Deranger and Jen Gobby will share their own visions for what this transformation can look like and open up a discussion about how these visions can inspire and ground the work of those in the tech and innovation world.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

STV 210: The Computing Society

Did Alan Turing really save the world? Why were women the first computers?  How wig-makers inspired a revolution!  Why was Grace Hopper "Man of the Year"?  Did Charles Babbage invent computers?  IBM and the Holocaust? WAT FOR ever or WAT Ever For?

Join your fellow students this Spring to discuss and explore these and other topics in computing history!

Instructor: Scott Campbell 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

STV 205: Cybernetics and Society

Cybernetics is the study of the interfaces between humans and machines. This course will present an overview of cybernetics from automation and robotics to prosthetics and wearable computing. The roles of men and women in a post-human era will be discussed along with related themes dealing with gender, cyberspace, politics and popular culture.

Join your fellow students this Spring to discuss and explore!

Instructor: Mark Morley