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.
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.
Friday, July 31 - Week 1: A Quick Timeline of Our Love Affair with Machines
Friday, August, 7 - Week 2: The Dawn of Science Fiction
Readings: E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Sandman” and selections from Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”
Friday, August 14 - Week 3: Machines Rule
Readings: E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” and Karel Čapek’s “R.U.R.”
Friday, August 21 - Week 4: 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”
Friday, August 28 - Week 5: Mechanical Clones vs. Prisoners of Tech
Readings: Ray Bradbury’s “Marionettes, Inc.” and Pepe Rojo’s “Grey Noise”
Friday, September 4 - Week 6: In Your Own Voice
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).