HPS346H1: Modifying and Optimizing Life: on the Peculiar Alliance between AI, Biology, and Engineering


Taking cue from the entanglements that historically have pervaded the relation between biology and information technology since the early 20th century, this course interrogates the sociocultural and technological conjuncture that has brought computer science, biology and engineering together into peculiar, ingenious, and often controversial alliances. What do AI, synthetic biology, and biotechnology have in common? How have they come to be associated? What are the debates and ethics emerging from such associations? The course will focus on topics such as: geoengineering and bioremediation; GMO and Robotic insects; the use of expert systems and machine learning to optimize synthetic biology; the flourishing and marketing of precision and personalized medicine/immunotherapy; and the ethics behind CRISPR babies.

4.0 credits
Society and its Institutions (3)