Science, Technology and Humanity: Opportunities and Risks

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

Last modification: May 12, 2023

Summer semester 2022/23


Time: Wednesday 16:30-18:00 lecture, 18:05-18:50 seminar 

Place: F1-108



doc. RNDr. Martin Tak, 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. Tom Gl, PhD., Centre for Cognitive Science,  t o m a s . g a l (at) u n i b a . s k

Credits: 5

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.


You can see your progress here:

1. Semester activities: submitting weekly reading assignments (35%), seminar activities (5%)
2. Final evaluation: colloquial presentation of the selected topic (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 15
Introduction none
Feb 22
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 Podrouek,

assignment about values
Mar  1

Job market and inequality

S. Russell: Eliminating work as we know it. In: Human Compatible. Penguin Random House, 2019 (p. 113-124).
Mar 8

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.

Excerpt from Grienfield, A. (2017): Radical Technologies (Supplemental text)
assignment about ChatGPT
Mar 15

Internet of things

All off, F., Henschke, A. (2018): The Internet of Things: Foundational ethical issues. Internet of Things 1�2, p. 55�66
6. Mar 22

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 29

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 5

Artificial minds, artificial persons

J. Bryson: Robots Should Be Slaves in: Y. Wilks (ed.): Close Engagements with Artificial Companions: Key Social, Psychological, Ethical and Design Issues. John Benjamins, 2010.
Activity: Relationships with AI persons. Before  the seminar, please read this article and watch this short sci-fi film. Try to identify ethical issues in the film. 
Apr 12

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

Lamaze A. (2019) Transcranial electrical stimulation for human enhancement and the risk of inequality: Prohibition or compensation?  
Apr 19 no lecture (Student science conference) none


Apr 26

Hybridization between species and between AI and organic minds

Specter, M. (2016) How the DNA Revolution Is Changing Us Special guest: Jakub Benko
May 3

Future of minds and transhumanism

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

12. May 10

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 lecture (90 min) followed by a seminar (45 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 t o m a s . g a l (at) u n i b a . s k): The deadline is Sunday midnight before the seminar. The reading assignments constitute 35% of grade
The remaining 5% can be obtained at the seminar by solving special tasks.

Colloquial presentation

Participants will choose a topic related to the course and prepare a presentation for their fellow students and teachers.
It is necessary to sent the presentation (ideally pdf) to both teachers by email at least one day before the colloquium.

Colloquium dates are: Tuesday 23.5. at 16:30 in M-I, Tuesday 30.5. at 16:30 in I-23 (in Slovak), Tuesday 13.6. at 16:30 in I-23, Thursday 29.6. at 16:30 in I-23. Sign up for a term via AIS.