Tech Ethics: AI, Biotech, and the Future of Human Nature

Course Number 1558

University Professor Douglas A. Melton
Professor Michael J. Sandel
Fall; Q1Q2; 3 credits

Thursday 3:45pm - 5:45pm meetings will be held in Klarman Hall.
Additional one hour discussion group weekly, section assignment TBD, on the FAS campus.

Enrollment: 100 MBA students joining students from across Harvard University, including 100 students from Harvard Law School and a majority of students from Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Please see the Tech Ethics Course Trailer

Course Overview

The course explores the moral, social, and political implications of new technologies. Will biotechnology and AI enable us to hack humanity? Should we edit the genes of our children, extend the human lifespan, and genetically enhance our athletic ability and IQ? Can algorithms be fair? Will robots make work obsolete? Can smart machines outthink us? In an age of big data and social media, is privacy over? Is democracy?

The course will ask how science and technology are transforming the way we work, learn, make friends, raise children, care for our health, conduct our politics, and understand what it means to be human.

All enrolled students will use Harvard's Canvas at canvas.harvard.edu as a common platform.

Discussion groups will be made up of 15 students across Harvard-wide cohorts. Students will use the my.harvard.edu sectioning tool to submit preferences across a wide range of time slots (Monday or Wednesday throughout the day into evening; Thursday mornings). Section assignments will be determined at the start of fall term and attendance will be a key element in class participation.

HBS students will be graded in the MBA grading system following the faculty-mandated distribution.