This module aims to provide an understanding of the philosophical issues surrounding the field of Artificial Intelligence and a historical perspective on those issues and on the subject itself.
The material is presented through a combination of lectures, group and individual tutorials, and directed reading.
The history of AI is addressed through a series of directed readings and tutorials covering the following topics or themes in AI:
The philosophy of AI is covered in lectures, and the material covered is closely related to the the topic areas listed above.
The lectures focus on the philosophical material, and cover a range of topics in the philosophy of AI including:
Lectures are on Wednesdays at 13:00 in room C1 in the Exchange building. Remaining lectures are on 21 October, 28 October, 11 November and 25 November.
To help structure their reading and develop an understanding of the history of AI as a whole, all students are required to attend group tutorials at which the papers for each topic will be discussed.
For each of the first three group tutorials each student should prepare a five minute summary of papers I, II and III for their assigned topic (in order of publication).
For the first tutorial, this should include a brief statement of the topic area itself, definitions of key terms etc, as well as summarising the contribution of the paper. For the second and third tutorials, the summary should include the contribution of the relevant paper, and its relationship to the papers covered in previous tutorials.
The fourth group tutorial will focus on synthesising the material covered to give an overview of the topic which includes progress to date, open problems etc, and how this relates to more general issues in the philosophy of AI. You should be prepared to give a summary of your synthesis and conclusions at the tutorial.
Note that the tutorial schedule represents the minimum required to successfully complete the coursework. (You have to read and summarise the three papers for your report, and the tutorials are a good opportunity to get feedback on your summary and see how your topic relates to the others.) You are of course free to "read ahead" and expand the scope of your contribution to each tutorial to include other papers relevant to the topic.
Group tutorials are on Wednesdays at 13:00 in room C1 in the Exchange building, and alternate with lectures (i.e., there is either a lecture or a group tutorial in any given week). The group tutorials are on 4 November, 11 November, 2 December, 9 December.
Individual tutorials are intended for discussion of matters related to your particlular topic, e.g., general background, terminology used, discussion of particular algorithms or results, and choice of addtional papers. Please email me in advance if you want to book an individual tutorial slot.
Individual tutorials are on Thursdays at 10:00 (? or by mutual arrangement) in the lecturers' offices (Tony Pridmore C57, Natasha Alechina C13) in Computer Science, in the same weeks as the lectures (22 Oct, 29 Oct, 12 Nov, 26 Nov).
A report of approximately 7,500 words (15 pages). The report should:
Marks will be awarded for demonstrating a clear understanding of the topic and clearly and accurately summarising the assigned papers. Your overview and conclusion should clearly state the degree to which you think the problem is soluble in principle, drawing on any relevant philosophical arguments presented in the module. Marking will be based on:
Extra credit will be given for submissions which draw on additional (relevant) papers in the overview and conclusions sections of the report, demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between topics and/or develop the relationship to philosophical questions in more detail.
You are reminded of the School's Policy on Plagiarism and the correct use of citations.
Submissions are due at 15:30 on Wednesday the 16th of December and should be made electronically using the coursework submission system. The ID for the coursework is 218. Submissions open at 13:00 on the 1st of of December.
The reading list for each topic consists of three required papers and a larger set of of supplementary papers. You should read at least the required papers for the topic you have been assigned.
In addition to the key papers for each topic, you may find the following texts useful for an overview of the various AI sub-fields and philosophical questions covered in module. Note that there is also a version of the reading list with links to the University Library catalogue.
Note that the following list of suggested reading is provisional, as it may necessary to change the order in which topics are presented.
Warning: the slides are not `lecture notes': they are there to help present the material, not to act as a reference to the main points covered in the lecture. Simply reading the slides won't necessarily give you a good grasp of the syllabus. They are specifically not a substitute for taking your own notes or reading the suggested reading for the lecture.