CS 4002
Robots and Society

Some readings are not firm as of now, and many will be added the week before the class. Remember: there is no excuse for ignorance of the assigned reading material. Visit this page frequently. Bring a friend.



Reading for
Class Discussion (Read PRIOR to Class)


Jan 12

Introduction I  [Slides]



Jan 14

Introduction II/Ethical Foundations I

Robo Sapiens (RS), Introduction

Why the future doesn't need us (Bill Joy)

A Robot in Every Home (Bill Gates)


Jan 19

Ethical Foundations II

Introduction to Ethics Article (Class Handout)

Moral Machines (MM), Chapter 1

In class exercise 1

Exercise Notes

Jan 21

Ethical Foundations III [slides]


Digital People (DP), Chapter 1

Strategic plan exercise

Jan 26

Argumentation [slides]

Using the Toulmin Model (Class Handout)

DP, Chapter 2

HWK #1: Introduction to Ethics

DUE 2/2

Jan 28

Asimov's Laws [slides]

MM, pp. 91-99

Three laws and Metaethics

Beyond Asimov

Term paper assignment #1

 DUE 2/9

Feb 2

Defense: Killer Applications

RS, Remote Possibilities

Robots and Laws of War

Armed Robot Operations   

HW #1 DUE!

HWK# 2 OUT: DUE  2/16

In class exercise 2

Feb 4

 Defense II [slides]

 RS, Serious Fun

Review of Code with explanation of the 4 regulatory forces (Focus on section titled 'What Regulates and How)


Feb 9

Entertainment/Companion Robots


If you kick a robotic dog, is it wrong?

The March of the Robot Dogs

Do People really want Robots?

Robot Nannies

 TP#1 DUE!

Feb 11

Medical and Assistive Robotics


Robots and Rehabilitation

Robots and Autism



Feb 16


Thought Communication

Implant tumors

HW #2 DUE!

In class exercise 3

Feb 18

Lab Tour 

Meet at TSRB LOBBY 9:30AM

MM, Chapter 3

RS, Electric Dreams


Feb 23

Robots and Jobs


RS, Workmates

World Robotics Summary

Robots and the Workforce

Term paper Outline and

Debate topics

(BOTH DUE 3/11)

Feb 25

Robots and Privacy

Socio-ethics (Read at least sections 3 and 5)

Security and Privacy

In Class Exercise 4 and 

Mid-term Review

March 2

Midterm Exam

Past Midterm NOTE: This is not necessarily a guide for the future!

March 4
Drop Day is 3/5

Religion and Robots I

DP, Chapter 4

Robot: Child of God



March 9

Religion and Robots II


DP, Chapter 5

Commander Data: A Candidate for Harvard Divinity School?


March 11

Sexual Activity and Robots I

 DP, Chapter 8

Legal Implications of Intimacy with Machines


Term Paper (DUE 4/27)

March 16

Sexual Activity and Robots II


Robot Prostitutes

 Debate Assignments

(Due 4/13)

Homework #3

DUE 11:59 PM Monday before 4/1

March 18

Social and Cultural Distinctions I

DP, Chapter 7

Who is Afraid?

Culture in Neuro-robotics


March 23
March 25

Spring Break

March 30

Social and Cultural Distinctions II


Cultural Acceptance: West versus Japan

Cross-cultural Roboethics


April 1

Intelligent Beings I (aka The Singularity)

DP, Chapter 9,

I … am a Robot

Student presentations

April 6

Intelligent Beings II

MM, Chapter 4

Ethical Treatment of Robots

Student presentations

April 8

Intelligent Beings III

RS, Robo Sapiens

MM, Chapter 12

Student presentations

April 13

Debates I

 All debate documents for all debates are due at the beginning of class 4/13.

 Student debates

April 15

Debates II



 Student debates

April 20

Debates III


 Student debates

April 22

Guest Lecture: Robot Companions (J. Borenstein)




April 27

Professional Ethics


Using the new ACM code of Conduct for Decision Making

ACM Code of Conduct

IEEE Code of Conduct

IEEE Plagiarism


April 29

What's Next? A Challenge


Out: Take-Home Exam

Oral Schedule

May 3 – May 7

Final Exam