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Last updated:

March 29, 2023


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


Artificial Intelligence (AI) represents great opportunity, but also significant disruption for modern societies and cultures.

This online short course investigates the historical, ethical and social issues surrounding this technology. It is aimed at people interested in understanding where this technology has come from, the kinds of opportunities it brings to modern and future societies, but also the risks it presents, and what steps we might take to avoid such risks.

This course has been developed from LG003 - AI matters. The Open University has launched a dedicated learning centre called The Open Centre for Languages and Cultures. OpenLearn is supporting this project and is providing extracted units of all courses on The Open Centre in our dedicated Language and cultures hub.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • describe the historical, social, political and economic issues in AI
  • understand the benefits and risks of AI technology
  • express some ideas about the ethical challenges with building AI technology
  • formulate possible ways of responding to the risks and opportunities which AI represents.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction Unlimited
  • Open Centre for Languages and Cultures Unlimited
    • Introduction Unlimited
    • Looking backwards Unlimited
    • Robotic servants Unlimited
    • Autonomous AI? Unlimited
    • Background: Autonomous and Intelligent Systems Unlimited
    • Background: Russell and Norvig’s four kinds of AI Unlimited
    • Looking around us Unlimited
    • Risks and benefits Unlimited
    • Looking forwards Unlimited
    • This week’s quiz Unlimited
    • Summary of Week 1 Unlimited
    • Introduction Unlimited
    • If AI is possible, how should we prepare for it? Unlimited
    • Diversity, fairness, and equitability in AI Unlimited
    • The role of technology companies Unlimited
    • The impact of AI technology on society Unlimited
    • The sustainability of AI Unlimited
    • AI and sustainability Unlimited
    • Using AI for social good Unlimited
    • This week’s quiz Unlimited
    • Summary Unlimited

About the instructor

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Open University UK