PHIL S-150 The Ethics of Emerging Technologies

Technology is increasingly embedded in our lives. Algorithms make many decisions for us from who should see an advertisement to how long someone should spend in jail. Data collection improves many services, but it can also erode privacy. Social media, while connecting some, has polarized others. And more innovation is on the horizon. Now is the time to confront the vital question of how can we live well with emerging technologies? This question provokes another: what does it mean to live well in the first place?

Philosophers have proposed several answers to this question. Sometimes, we can use their past answers to orient ourselves towards a better future. Other times, however, new technologies force us to reconsider our previously held beliefs. The tools of philosophy including clear and careful reasoning can help. In this course, we practice diagnosing the moral and social ramifications of several emerging technologies with the goal of charting a course for the years ahead that preserves technology's promise while avoiding its potential perils.

William Cochran, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy, Harvard University
PhD, Northwestern University | Website

Jacob Roundtree

My responses to select short writing exercises, written as blog posts under Mindful Musings. Permission to publish has been granted by the instructor.