Androids, Cyborgs, and The Human of Our Dreams

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Brought to you by Hopkins at Home

Fridays, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM EDT

Each week will consist of a short lecture followed by class discussion. All readings will be shared via email the week before class sessions begin. Although all the readings are fairly quick reads and page-turners, this is a reading intensive course. Writing a fictional narrative is suggested but not required. The last week of class (week 6) will be an open discussion for students to share their own written fictional narratives and/or ideas for the future of humanity.


Course Description

Looking for some inspiration to get your summer reading done during the dog days of summer? Search no more. In this mini-course at the intersection of world literature, the history of robotics, and cognitive science, we will explore the changing face of the humanoid robot and its societal consequences through selections of fictional narratives (the short story, novel, and theatrical play) from the eighteen hundreds to today. Merging empirical fact with creative fiction, you will also get a chance to unleash your imagination and write and/or share ideas of your very own short story, one-act theatrical play, or poetry.

Session 1Friday, July 31, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM EDT

A Quick Timeline of Our Love Affair with Machines

Session 2Friday, August 7, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM EDT

The Dawn of Science Fiction

Readings: E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Sandman” and selections from Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”

Session 3Friday, August 14, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM EDT

Machines Rule

Readings: E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” and Karel Čapek’s “R.U.R.”

Session 4Friday, August 21, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM EDT

Do We Live in A Simulation?

Readings: Frederik Pohl’s “The Tunnel Under the World” and selections from Kōbō Abe’s “Inter Ice Age 4”

Session 5Friday, August 28, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM EDT

Mechanical Clones vs. Prisoners of Tech

Readings: Ray Bradbury’s “Marionettes, Inc.” and Pepe Rojo’s “Grey Noise”

Session 6Friday, September 4, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM EDT

In Your Own Voice

ABOUT Dr. Monica Lopez-Gonzalez
Senior Lecturer, Krieger School of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Lopez-Gonzalez’s research interests lie at the nexus of human creativity and general intelligence, artificial intelligence, and society. For Dr. Lopez-Gonzalez (A&S '05, '07, '10), building an interactive human-centric relationship with technology is critical for an ethical and sustainable future with autonomous, intelligent systems. The core of her work lies in mapping out the cognitive behavioral and neural correlates of how humans seamlessly adapt to multisensory, multi-agent environments. Using an interdisciplinary approach that merges questions, theory, methods, data, and experiences from both the Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Arts, Dr. Lopez-Gonzalez is identifying the fundamental and nuanced roles of emotion, knowledge, and cognitive plasticity within real-time improvisatory and collaborative problem solving, decision-making, and action behaviors. Her work focuses on four applied domains: human-like automation (e.g. robotics), interdisciplinary Science-Art education (e.g. medical humanities), patient-centric digital app engagement in healthcare (e.g. brain disorders), and end user information technology education (e.g. data privacy and safety).

 Event Date
Friday, July 31, 2020
11:30am EDT

Friday, September 4, 2020
12:30pm EDT

Hopkins at Home

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