Excerpt from course description

Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms and Society


Computers, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Algorithms are dramatically changing the way we live, work and do business. The last years have seen unprecedented innovation in areas such as large-scale information processing, problem solving and machine learning. In various work contexts, computers can complete tasks not only – by an order of magnitude – faster than humans, they are also more efficient, more reliable, and they seem much more creative in devising adequate problem-solving strategies. AI and Algorithms are not only used to make sense of enormous amounts of existing data, but they can also be used to make predictions about the future – as such, they become a crucial tool for decision making. At the same time, AI and Algorithms have sparked heated and often contradictory discussions in the public sphere which encompass both dystopian and utopian narratives. Here, headlines range from rouge ‘killer robots’ or ‘artificial intelligences seeking world domination’ to solving ‘computers solving hunger, poverty and illiteracy’. Today’s decision-makers will not only have to use AI and Algorithms as a part of their daily work, but they also need to understand the public discourse surrounding these phenomena and be able to make educated and measured choices.

In this course, we will explore the foundational issues that comprises current developments in artificial intelligence, primarily form a philosophy of mind perspective. Based on a solid understanding of the interplay between minds and machines, we will the proceed conceptualizing future scenarios for business and society, and deliberate on the possible economic and ethical outcomes of these.

Course content

Current and Future Use of Artificial Intelligence

Challenges resulting from and solved through AI in Business and Society

Scenario Techniques and How to Map Possible Futures


Guiding Questions

  • What is (artificial) intelligence?
  • What are algorithms?
  • A brief history of thinking machines
  • What are the unanswered questions in AI?

02_Bodies and Minds

Guiding Questions

  • Could calculating machines have pains?
  • How are mental states related to brain states and behavior?
  • What are the main questions in the philosophy of mind?
  • What distinguishes Dualists, Materialists and Functionalists?


Guiding Questions

  • What does the Chinese Room argument posit with respect to mind, understanding and consciousness?
  • How does the Chinese Room argument relate to Artificial Intelligence?
  • What are objections brought up against the Chinese Room argument?
  • What do zombies have to do with the Chinese Room Argument?

04_How computers work

Guiding Questions

  • How are algorithms used for systematic problem solving?
  • Why do different forms of representation matter for computing algorithms?
  • What constitutes a good algorithm?

05 & 06_Machine Learning & Deep Learning


  • How can machines learn?
  • What are algorithms?
  • What are the components of machine learning?

07_Economic Impact


  • In which ways will artificial intelligence have an impact on the economy?
  • Which kind of jobs will be impacted the most through artificial intelligence?
  • How to design an inclusive economy in an age of ubiquitous artificial intelligence?

08_Ownership and Access


  • Which impacts will artificial intelligence have on the competitiveness of markets?
  • Which disruptions in current business ecosystem for AI do you find conceivable?
  • Are there any foreseeable social implications given the likely trajectory of AI businesses?

09_Transparency and Accountability


  • What are the ethical issues surrounding big data and algorithms?
  • Which solutions are there to make AI’s fairer, and more inclusive?
  • Which areas of AI development need either better corporate social responsibility of governmental intervention, if any?

10_Autonomy and Agency


  • What are some of the challenges and harms of AI systems
  • What are the potential benefits of AI systems, and what are good tradeoffs versus potential harms?
  • How to effectively design and regulate AI systems for society’s benefit?

Future Scenarios: Poster Presentation and Discussion


This is an excerpt from the complete course description for the course. If you are an active student at BI, you can find the complete course descriptions with information on eg. learning goals, learning process, curriculum and exam at portal.bi.no. We reserve the right to make changes to this description.