UGS 302

Fall, 2013

Mirrors on Ourselves

Elaine Rich

Schedule of Topics and Reading Assignments


Thursday, August 29                       Introduction


Tuesday, Sept. 3                              Introduction, continued

·         Taoist parable from Lieh Tzu

·         Two Hindu legends:

·         The birth of Durga 

·         Read:

·         Watch:

·         Watch:

·         The birth of Ganesha

·         Read:

·         Watch:


Thursday, September 5                  Early Legends and Stories

·         D. L. Ashliman, “The Golem: A Jewish Legend”

·         “The Creation of the Golem”

·         Avram Davidson, “The Golem”

·         E. T. A. Hoffmann, “The Sandman” (optional)

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (The Golem)


Tuesday, September 10                  BDP Presentation

Legends, continued

·         Hans Christian Anderson, “The Nightingale”

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (The Nightingale)


Thursday, September 12                Mechanical Automata

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (Mechanical Automata)


Tuesday, September 17                  TED Talk Project presentations (click here to view presentations after viewing them)

·         TURN IN your short project answers and come to class ready to present


Thursday, September 19                TED Talk Project presentations, continued


Tuesday, September 24                  Pygmalion

·         Ovid, the Pygmalion Myth

·         Nathanial Hawthorne, Downe’s Wooden Image”

·         Giambattista Basile, Pintosmalto

·         Bagrodia and Harris, “The Perfect Painting

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (Pygmalion)


Thursday, September 26                Doing Research at UT

·         Alan Turing, “Can Machines Think?”


Tuesday, October 1             Discussions

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (The OED and the Library)

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (Metropolis)

·         TERM PAPER DEADLINE: You must have met at least once with Amanda or me to talk about your term paper.


Tuesday, October 1                       University Lecture Series (Hogg Memorial Auditorium, 7:00 pm)

Wednesday, October 2                 University Lecture Series (Hogg Memorial Auditorium, 7:00 pm)

Thursday, October 3                     University Lecture Series (Hogg Memorial Auditorium, 7:00 pm)


Thursday, October 3                        The Turing Test

·         Moore’s Law

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (The Turing Test)


Tuesday, October 8                         Discuss University Lectures

Key Ideas in Computing, continued        

·         TURN IN Notes from University Lecture

·         TERM PAPER DEADLINE: Turn in a topic, a short, tentative outline, and, in the case of a research paper, a list of at least three sources.


Thursday, October 10                      Key Ideas in Computing, continued


Tuesday, October 15                       Key Ideas in Computing, continued


Wednesday, October 16               Kronos String Quartet with Laurie Anderson (Bass Concert Hall, 8:00pm)


Thursday, October 17                      Artificial Intelligence



Tuesday, October 22                       The Turk, Chess and Other Games


Wednesday, October 23               Yamoto   (Bass Concert Hall, 8:00pm)


Thursday, October 24                      Discuss Yamoto


·         Edgar Allan Poe, Maelzel’s Chess Player”

·         TURN IN Notecard (Maelzel’s Chess Player)

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (Common Sense I)


Tuesday, October 29                       Visit to the Blanton

·         TERM PAPER DEADLINE: Turn in the first draft of your paper.


Thursday, October 31                      Movie: Frankenstein (71 minutes)

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (Common Sense II)



Tuesday, November 5                     Discuss Blanton visit

Discuss Frankenstein

Finish Games

Common Sense

            Language and Communication   

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (Frankenstein)

·         Edward Shanken,   “Hot to bot: Pygmalion’s lust, the Maharal’s fear, and the cyborg future of art”

·         Robert Bloch, “Almost Human”



Thursday, November 7                   Robots

·         “Ave Machina! Deus est Machina!!”

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (The Day the Earth Stood Still)



Tuesday, November 12                   Robots

·         Karel Čapek, R.U.R.

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (R.U.R.)


Thursday, November 14                 What Makes Us Us?

Can We Do It?

·         Douglas Hofstadter, “Sounds Like Bach”

·         Murphy and Woods,Beyond Asimov: The Laws of Responsible Robotics” (To get this on the web, you need to go through the UT library if you are off campus.)

·         Ray Kurzweil, “Are We Spiritual Machines?”

·         TURN IN Notecard (Hofstadter  or Kurzweil or Murphy and Woods)


Tuesday, November 19                   Should We Do It?

·         Noel Sharkey, “The Ethical Frontiers of Robotics” (Science, Vol. 32, pp. 1800-1801)

·         Marshall Brain, “Robotic Nation”, Parts 1 and 2

·         The Luddites

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (The Luddites)

·         TERM PAPER DEADLINE: You should have visited the writing center at least once by now.


Thursday, November 21                 More on Should we Do It?

Recap of Creativity


·         Christopher Steiner, “Can Creativity be Automated?”

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (Creativity)


Friday, November 22                     TERM PAPER DEADLINE: By 9:00 pm, submit electronically an almost final draft if you have written a short story.


Tuesday, November 26                   Student paper presentations


Thursday, November 28                 THANKSGIVING


Tuesday, December 3                     Student paper presentations

·         “Better than Human: Why Robots Will – And Must – Take Our Jobs”, NOTECARD


Thursday, December 5                   Final discussion

·         Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell, “Total Recall”

·         TURN IN HOMEWORK (Can/Should We Do It?)


Friday, December 6

·         TERM PAPER DEADLINE: Turn in the final draft of your paper (in my office).