Beyond the human: explore the philosophy of artificial intelligence and life

Course Dates: 08/07/21 - 12/08/21
Time: 12:30 - 14:00
Location: Online
The fields of synthetic biology and artificial life are merging with artificial intelligence to put our conceptions of what it is to be human in doubt. What are the consequences of thinking ‘beyond the human’?
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £71.00 Concession £54.00

Course Code: HP106

Thu, day, 08 Jul - 12 Aug '21

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

An exploration over four sessions of the ideas 1) that a human-centred understanding of life and intelligence is not only limited but limiting and 2) that as a species we are in the early stages of altering ourselves by ‘design’ and moving beyond being ‘human’.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

The following are the key topics, which will overlap over the sessions:

1) Artificial Humans. What are some of the uses and consequences of developing artificial humans (i.e., robots, androids/gynoids that look and ‘behave’ like humans)?

2) Hive/Hybrid minds. As the boundaries between human and machine are blurred, human-beings are augmented by multiple server systems and incorporated as components in wide scale non-human distributed intelligence systems. What sense of purpose, meaning and value arises from this ‘artificial social’.

3) Artificial Life & Living Machines. Is there a legitimate boundary between the living and the non-living, between the organic and the mechanistic? What are the implications of this boundary being erased?

4) Synthetic organisms. As bio-engineering and related disciplines develop it may become possible to create diverse organisms to order. What sorts of synthetic organisms might be created or self-created, designed and desired?

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Examine, simply, the distinction between the living and the non-living.

Discuss the value of diverse aspects of post-human worlds.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

No special knowledge or skills are required other than intellectual interest in the subject and curiosity.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The sessions will run in a seminar format with short slide-based presentations and Q&A and discussion (small groups may be used if there are a large number of participants on the course). No work outside class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Only note-making equipment of your own choice.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Philosophy courses related to existentialism, ethics, technology.

John Goff Tutor Website

From reading Philosophy at a young age to the formal study of Cognitive Science, Philosophy & Psychology at the Universities of London and Sussex - after a prior career in video-arts - John Goff has been presenting philosophy courses to adults since the early 2000s. He uses a cross-disciplinary, seminar-based approach in his courses, drawing on Philosophy, Psychology and the wider Humanities & Social Sciences with an emphasis on the intersection of contemporary and classical European and Asian philosophical thought. He is the author of several works of philosophical fiction concerning artificial minds and organisms and alternative-human worlds including the novel 'The Last Days of the Most Hidden Man' and the novellas 'Eidopolis', 'Agents of Erasure' and 'Jupiter|Saturn'. His academic writings can be found on his page at ''.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.