Science, Technology and Humanity: Opportunities and Risks

Master's Program in Cognitive Science, Comenius University in Bratislava

Summer semester 2019/20

Time/Place: WED. 16:30-19:45 at I23* (turned offline during COVID-19 Epidemic)


doc. RNDr. Martin Takáč, PhD., Centre for Cognitive Science, room  I-37, t a k a c (at) i i . f m p h . u n i b a . s k

Ing. PhDr. Tomáš Gál, PhD., IT VM Mlny,  t o m a s . g a l (at) u n i b a . s k

Credits: 5

Indicative Content

The students will gain awareness of the contemporary and potential future challenges posed by scientific and technological innovations and their impact on human behaviour, culture and society.


  1. Semester activities: submitting weekly reading assignment (20%), active participation in class (20%)* (will not apply during COVID-19 Epidemic)
  2. Final evaluation: essay (60%)


0-50 %Fx
51-60 %E
61-70 %D
71-80 %C
81-90 %B
91-100 %A


TopicSeminar ReadingSupplementary Resources and Notes
Feb 19
Feb 26
Value-driven science, responsible researchL. Floridi et al.: An Ethical Framework for a Good AI Society: Opportunities, Risks, Principles, and Recommendations. Minds and Machines, December 2018.
Mar 4

Big data: privacy, politics and power

W. Youyou, M. Kosinski, D. Stillwell: Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans. PNAS 112(4), 2015.
Mar 11

Job market and inequality

S. Russell: Eliminating work as we know it. In: Human Compatible. Penguin Random House, 2019 (p. 113-124).Acemlogu D., Restrepo P. (2019) The Wrong Kind of AI?
 del Gato, M. (2019) Automation: impacts on labor and inequality
Mar 18

Assistant AI and its place in future society

R. Sparrow: Virtue and Vice in Our Relationships with Robots: Is There an Asymmetry and How Might it be Explained? International Journal of Social Robotics, 2020.
Mar 25

Internet of things, it usefulness and threats

Singh. A. (2019) The Internet of Things (IoT) and Cyber Security Please, be aware of the difference between home use and industrial IoT
Apr 1

Enhancements and human rights and the right to change self and others

Lavazza A. (2019) Transcranial electrical stimulation for human enhancement and the risk of inequality: Prohibition or compensation? Miah, A. (2016) Ethics Issued Raised By Humane Enhancement
Please, in your summaries, take into account, that there is difference in social mobility inside socioeconomic classes and between them.
Apr 8

Artificial minds

What is Kurzweil about

Kurzweil, R. (2012) How to create Minds
(text by email)
Apr 15

Hybridization between species and between AI and organic minds

Specter, M. (2016) How the DNA Revolution Is Changing Us
Apr 22

Future of minds and trans-humanism

Kaku, M. (2014) Future of Mind
(text by email)
11. Apr 29

Artificial emotional intelligence

Why emogional AI matters

Boehner, K. (et al.) How emotion is made and measured
(textby email)
Will AI ever understand human emotions? The Conversation, 10 Jan 2017
The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed.
12. May 6

An after human era

Chollet, F. (2017) The implausibility of intelligence explosion Vinge, V. (1993) The Coming Technological Singularity
13. May 27Final colloquiumnone Please, prepare your essays till Sunday, May 24th


Assessment details

Semester Activities

Reading and discussions

Before each seminar, a student should carefully read the article listed in seminar readings (supplementary resources are optional) and send an email with the following content (to both teachers): The deadline is Sunday midnight before the seminar. The reading assignments constitute 20% of grade. Furthermore, students will get additional 20% of their grade for active discussions in class.

Final essay

Each student will choose a topic related to the course and write an essay for 60% of their grade. The essay should be in pdf format, have 2500-5000 words and be sent by email to both teachers by May 24. The essays will be presented at the final colloquium at the end of the semester.

Ongoing Evaluation

Reading assignments:
Viera Š.********** 
Lucia K. * 
Matej S.**!! 
Jakub M.**** 
Štefan H. 
Adam Š.********* 
Danijela T.********* 


Viera Š.*****5
Lucia K.****4
Matej S.*****5
Jakub M.****4
Štefan H.***3
Adam Š.***3
Danijela T.****4

(Presence points are not awarded from 20.3. till the standard class form resumes).

Last modification: May 26, 2020