Ethics for AI
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleSOW-MKI67
Credits (ECTS)6
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Social Sciences; Artificial Intelligence;
prof. dr. W.F.G. Haselager
Other course modules lecturer
dr. G. Mecacci
Other course modules lecturer
dr. G. Mecacci
Other course modules lecturer
dr. G. Mecacci
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. G. Mecacci
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2021
SEM2  (31/01/2022 to 15/07/2022)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
This course will enable students to:
  1. Display knowledge about the ehtical, legal, and societal impact of the influential recent developments in AI and cognitive (neuro)science
  2. Apply ethical theories and ethics of technology to achieve a more aware and responsible decision making in their future professional role
  3. Show a critical attitude towards scientific research in general and AI in particular, and learning to present a well-founded opinion about the latest developments in several areas of AI.
  4. Express themselves in writing according to the accepted norms for scientific AI publications, as well as verbally in group discussions.
  5. Digest papers in relevant journals, critically evaluating their scientific impact and their societal implications.
  6. Isolate and communicate societally relevant implications of science and technology to a range of different stakeholders, such as AI experts, neuroscientists, policy makers and the general public.
  7. Acquire further knowledge in an independent and self-directed manner. 
AI applications are everywhere in daily life, ranging from smart breaking systems in cars to the latest apps on mobile phones, from dust cleaning robots at home to big data analyses on Internet, from BCI driven intelligent wheelchairs to weaponized drones. In this course students will acquire the conceptual tools and skills to address the ethical, legal and societal implications of AI and technology in general. In the first part of the course, they will get an introduction to ethical theories, ethical reasoning, theories of responsibility and a general methodology useful for an assessment of the implications of AI applications. In the second part, they will read and discuss a recent book on the wider implications of AI and technology. Finally, they will learn how to provide information concerning the current state-of-the-art and realistic near-future possibilities of AI to a wider audience (general public, policy makers, press) by writing a research brief for specific stakeholder.
Presumed foreknowledge
Bachelor AI, or bachelor in one of the constituting disciplines of Cognitive Science (Psychology, Neuroscience, Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy). Students from other disciplines can submit a participation request.
Test information
Digital exam with CIRRUS - 50% (1st period) & paper - 50% (2nd period).

A resit will be available for the exam only. More information will be published in Brightspace.
Books read earlier:
  • Bostrom, N. (2015). Superintelligence: Paths, dangers, strategies. Oxford University Press.
  • Brynjolfsson, E. & McAfee, A. (2014). The second machine age: Work, progress and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies. Norton & Company.
  • Fine, C. (2017). Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the myths of our gendered minds. Icon books.
  • Ford, M. (2015). The rise of the robots: Technoloy and the threat of mass unemployment. Oneworld publications.
  • O'Neill (2016) Weapons of math destruction, Penguin
  • Satel, S. & Lilienfeld, S.O. (2013). Brainwashed: The seductive appeal of mindless neuroscience. Basic Books.
  • Tegmark, M. (2017). Life 3.0. Alfred A. Knopf Books.
  • Required materials
    To be announced
    We will be reading and discussing a book and various articles. The full reference list will be announced later in Brightspace. See for books read earlier in remarks.

    Instructional modes
    Attendance MandatoryYes

    Organizationally the course will consist of two parts (each 3 ec),The first part consists of interactive lectures, the second part of reading group meetings.

    Preparation of meetings

    Contribution to group work

    For lectures and work group meetings attendance is mandatory.

    Digital exam
    Test weight50
    Test typeDigital exam with CIRRUS
    OpportunitiesBlock SEM2, Block SEM2

    Test weight50
    Test typePaper
    OpportunitiesBlock SEM2, Block SEM2