Science, Technology and Humanity: Opportunities and Risks

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

Last modification: May 26,  2021

Summer semester 2020/21

Time: Wednesday 15:40-17:10 lecture, 17:15-18:00 seminary work 

Place: Online via MS Teams. Students who signed up for the course in AIS will get invitation link automatically. Others please ask Martin Takáč for guest access.



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., Centre for Cognitive Science,  t o m a s . g a l (at) u n i b a . s k


Learning outcome

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 assignments (40%) Progress is possible to view here.
  2. Final evaluation: essay (60%)


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


Topic Seminar Reading Supplementary Resources (optional) Notes
Feb 17
Introduction none
Feb 24
Values in humans and machines L. Floridi et al.: An Ethical Framework for a Good AI Society: Opportunities, Risks, Principles, and Recommendations. Minds and Machines, December 2018.
Special guest: Juraj Podroužek, KINIT
Mar  3

Job market and inequality

S. Russell: Eliminating work as we know it. In: Human Compatible. Penguin Random House, 2019 (p. 113-124).
Mar 10

Big data: bias, 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. Special guest:
Erez Israel, R&D for AI in Cybersecurity in Check Point Slovakia (with Andrej Aleksiev and Tomas Vobruba)
Mar 17

Internet of things

Allhoff, F., Henschke, A. (2018): The Internet of Things: Foundational ethical issues. Internet of Things 1–2, p. 55–66 Special guest:
Miroslav Pikus

there is also supplementary text, provided by M.P. at the sharepoint

Please, be aware of the difference between home use and industrial IoT
6. Mar 24

Affective Computing

Leahu, L. & Segners, P. (2014): Freaky: Performing Hybrid Human-Machine Emotion. In: DIS '14: Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Designing interactive systems, p. 607-616.
Mar 31

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.
Apr 7

Artificial minds, artificial persons

Kelley, J.D.: The Sapient and Sentient Intelligence Value Argument and Effects on Regulating Autonomous Artificial Intelligence. In N. Lee (ed.): The TranshumanismHandbook. Springer, 2019.
Special guest:
André Zitterbat -
The Implications of including artificial cognitive systems in the Moral community on Cognitive Science's Methodology
Apr 14

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

Lavazza A. (2019) Transcranial electrical stimulation for human enhancement and the risk of inequality: Prohibition or compensation?  
Apr 21 no lecture none


Apr 28

Hybridization between species and between AI and organic minds

Specter, M. (2016) How the DNA Revolution Is Changing Us
May 5

Future of minds and transhumanism

Vita-More, N.: History of Transhumanism. In N. Lee (ed.): The Transhumanism Handbook. Springer, 2019.

12. May 12

Superintelligence, singularity and after-human era

Chollet, F. (2017) The implausibility of intelligence explosion


Assessment details

Semester Activities

Reading assignments

Each session is structured as a seminar (45 min) followed by a lecture (90 min).
Before each seminar, a student should carefully read the article listed in the
Seminar reading column and send an email with the following content (to both teachers): The deadline is Sunday midnight before the seminar. The reading assignments constitute 40% of grade

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 23. We will send you the feedback on your essay by email.



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