Centre for Continuing Education

Human vs Machine: The Limits of the Human and the Evolution of Human Machines

Philosophy. Study the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence.

Learn about philosophy the smart way with Philosophy courses at the University of Sydney.

Explore the human condition through our connection to machines and the technologies which are attempting to ‘mimic’ human behavior, for example driverless cars. The Philosophy of Technology is a growing area of theory: it attempts to critically asses the possible impacts which new technologies may have on social, political and economic life, as well as the ‘nature’ of ourselves. We will consider: The new robotic machines; Information technologies and how they are changing our understanding of knowledge; Medical cyborgism. Further we will consider the ethical implications of information and war technologies. In meditating on the machine we are forced to examine the limits (or limitlessness) of the ‘human’.

Course Content

  • A historical overview of the connections between Human and Machine. The course is primarily concerned with contemporary theory, however we will begin with some past philosophical views on the issues.
  • Introduction to the contemporary area of Philosophy of technology.
  • This week we will ask:What is a machine? And what are the differences and/or similarities between our human capacities and machine capacities. We will look at both material and ‘mental’ attributes.
  • The new robotic machines. That machines will replace humans in many areas of human activity is not of course a new idea, however this technology is moving fast and the implications many be more profound than we could have imagined in the past.
  • Information technologies and how they are changing our understanding of knowledge.
  • Medical cyborgism. How human will we be when our replacement bits are non organic or made in a 3D printer.
  • This week we will consider the ethical implications of information and war technologies.
  • The evolution of social life has already dramatically changed with technology, what do the theorists predict will happen in the future.
  • What effect does technology have on political ideologies and economic life.
  • Film and Science Fiction.

Features

  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion