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Syllabus for 2011 - Focus: Robotics

Sunday, July 10 – University Square Residence Hall
Corner of University Avenue and Central Avenue, Newark, NJ

5:00 - 6:00 PM - Registration and check-in; University Square Residence Hall Multi-Purpose Room

6:00 - 9:00 PM -University Square Residence Hall multi-purpose room
Dr. Jeff Buechner (Institute Director; Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University–Newark)
Mr. Levi Barnes III, Ethics Officer, Merck and Company, Inc.
Pizza Supper.
A screening of Laura Cardona’s documentary of the 2009 Rutgers-Merck Summer Bioethics Institute Film: “I, Robot,” (50 minutes; an episode from a 1960’s TV show, The Outer Limits) followed by a discussion of ethical issues in robotics raised by the film.

 

Monday, July 11 – Engelhard Hall, 190 University Avenue,  Room 211

9:00 - 9:30 AM - Dr. Jeff Buechner (Institute Director; Philosophy, Rutgers University–Newark)
A short tour of robotics and of some of the ethical, social, and cultural issues it raises, especially the employment of robots in medical surgeries and in warfare.

9:30 - 10:30 AM - Dr. Jeff Buechner
Critical thinking workshop
Introduction to the fundamental tools for critically assessing arguments. This workshop forms the basis for the entire week, and for the rest of your lives, since being able to critically assess arguments—the vehicles by which we acquire and transmit knowledge—is a fundamental human activity necessary for achieving success in any enterprise.

10:30 - NOON - Dr. Ken Richman (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences)
Introduction to ethics and ethical reasoning with examples of ethical problems that arise in robotics and how to use the basic principles of ethics in arriving at ethical decisions.

NOON - 1:00 PM - Lunch (Robeson 231)

1:00 - 2:00 PM - Dr. David Perlman (University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania Bioethics Center and Eclipse Educational Technologies)
Ethical Decision Making, using examples of ethical problems in robotics to test various theories of decision making. Professor Perlman will also talk about moral reasoning in the context of robotics and techniques he has developed for facilitating it.

2:00 - 3:00 PM - Writing workshop. Students will be assigned to groups and will begin to consider and write about ethical and philosophical issues arising in the context of robotics that will form the basis for their final presentations on Saturday. Students will employ the tools of critical thinking from the critical thinking workshop and will be assisted by 14 counselors and intern-counselors (some of whom are teachers in the Newark public school system).
Topic: Should robots have the same rights that human beings have? If yes, why? If no, why?

3:00 - 4:00 PM - Student Discussion: How do we distinguish humanoid robots and human beings?

4:00 - 5:00 PM - Dana Library, Electronic Classroom, Room 021
Dr. Robert Nahory (Rutgers University-Newark, Institute Of Jazz Studies) and Ann Watkins (Rutgers University Libraries) Introduction to Information Literacy: using library resources for projects.

5:00 - 6:30 PM - Dinner (Robeson 231)

6:30 - 8:00 PM - Center for Law and Justice, Rutgers University-Newark, 123 Washington Street, Room 010
Interning with Mr. Carlos Astacio and Mr. Elijah Smith of the Rutgers University Debating Team (nationally ranked) for Thursday’s debate.

 

Tuesday, July 12 – Engelhard Hall, 190 University Avenue,  Room 211

9:00 - 10:00 AM - Dr. Robert Nahory (Rutgers University-Newark, Institute Of Jazz Studies)
Dr. Nahory is a world famous laser physicist (Bell Laboratories) who now makes Rutgers-Newark his home. He will demonstrate how a robotic arm functions.

10:00 - 11:00 AM - Mr. Michael Maccarone (Department of Physics, Technology High School, Newark)
How do robotic arms work? Which laws of classical physics are necessary for understanding how they work? How do we make calculations in Newtonian classical physics?

11:00 - NOON - Akoma Ntoso Cultural Center (www.oiadainti.org), 191 Central Avenue, Newark
Ms. Diane Hill, (Director, Office of Campus Affairs, Rutgers University—Newark) and Dr. Lorna K. Johnson (Director, Akoma Ntoso Cultural Center)
Teleconference with high-school and college students in Ghana on ethical and business issues in robotics, especially the use of robots in medical surgery and in war.

NOON - 2:00 PM - Lunch (African food—of central Ghana—at the Akoma Ntoso Cultural Center)

2:00 - 3:00 PM - Dr. Alex Morgan (Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University-New Brunswick)
Neural network models of human brains—can robots with neural network brains function more like humans than robots with alternative brain models? Dr. Morgan will describe the elements of neural network theory and how they are implemented in software packages.

3:00 - 4:00 PM - Writing Workshop
If a robot harms a human being, who is responsible for the harm? The robot? The designer of the robot? The user of the robot?

4:00 - 5:00 PM - Dana Library, Electronic Classroom, Room 021
Dr. Robert Nahory and Ann Watkins - Introduction to Information Literacy, Part 2: using library resources for projects.

5:00 - 6:30 PM - Dinner (Robeson 231)

6:30 - 9:00 PM - Film “I, Robot” at University Square.

 

Wednesday, July 13 – Center for Urban and Public Service,111 Washington Street, Room 104

9:00 - 10:00 AM - Dr. Barry Komisaruk (Board of Governors’ Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Rutgers University–Newark)
The human brain: the basics of neuroanatomy and neurofunctioning.In order to understand the differences between humans and robots, we first need to understand how human brains work.

10:00 - 11:00 - Dr. Jeff Buechner (Institute Director; Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University-Newark)
Challenges in Designing Robotic Brains. There are several things human beings do very well that robots cannot do well. In particular, common-sense reasoning (which enables you to cross a buy street without being hit by aa moving vehicle and without bumping into other pede3strians) is hard for a robot to do, but relatively easy for human beings. Why is it so hard to program robots to engage in common-sense reasoning?

11:00 - NOON - Ms Monique Whittaker (Department of Philosophy, CUNY, The Graduate Center)
What is free will? How can there be free will if the universe is wholly determined by physical laws (deterministic)? If there is no free will, is anything permitted? Are we absolved of all legal and moral responsibilities if there is no free will.

NOON - 1:00 PM - Lunch (Robeson 231)

1:00 - 2:00 PM - Professor Trip McCrossin (Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University-Newark)
Personal identity in humans and in robots. What makes a human being the same person over the course of time? What makes a human being the same when various organic body parts are replaced by robotic parts? What makes a robot a robot over time?

2:00 - 3:00 PM - Dana Room, John Cotton Dana Library
Dr. Anastasia Pease (Department of English, Union College)
Many aspects of robotics have important literary, cultural and social dimensions, especially in science-fiction and in horror; Dr. Pease will provide an interactive discussion of this material in this teleconference seminar.

3:00 - 4:00 PM - Dana Room, John Cotton Dana Library
Writing workshop.
Could robots have free will? What is free will? Do human beings have it? If robots could have it, should they have it?

4:00 - 5:00 PM - Dana Library, Electronic Classroom, Room 021
Dr. Robert Nahory and Ann Watkins - Introduction to Information Literacy, Part 3: using library resources for projects. Students will compile notes for the day and work on their projects.

5:00 - 6:30 PM - Dinner (Robeson 231)

6:30 - 8:00 PM - Center for Law and Justice, Rutgers University-Newark, 123 Washington Street, Room 010
Interning with Mr. Carlos Astacio and Mr. Elijah Smith of the Rutgers University Debating Team (national ranked) for Thursday’s debate.

 

Thursday, July 14 – Center for Urban and Public Service,111 Washington Street, Room 104

9:00 - 10:00 AM - Ms April Grier (Department of Music and the Institute Of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University-Newark)
Ms Grier will talk about the evolution of different jazz styles, and their dynamic relationships with current hip-hop music. She will discuss the cultural, social, and political contexts in which jazz styles and hip-hop are situated.

10:00 - 11:00 - Ms. Judy Young (Institute for Ethical Leadership, Rutgers Business School)
The art of public presentation. Ms. Young will provide tips for public presentations, including public speaking. These tips will be important for the individual and group presentations at the gala banquet the following day. Students will learn how to use power-point effectively, how to use images and color to enhance words, and how to present data accurately and convincingly.

11:00 - NOON - Mr. Ralph Jenkins (Department of Philosophy, CUNY, The Graduate Center)
Logic and reasoning in human beings and in robots. How can human defeasible reasoning be captured in robotic software? What is logic and what kind of logic do human beings use? Is it a different logic from the logic that robots use?

NOON - 1:00 PM - Lunch (Robeson 231)

1:00 - 3:00 PM - Center for Law and Justice, Rutgers University-Newark, 123 Washington Street, Room 010
Students will debate the following issue: When robots have intelligence comparable to that of human beings, and consciousness, should they have the same rights that we have?
Yvette Bravo-Weber, Assistant Dean, Minority Student Programs and Externships, Rutgers School of Law, Newark, will moderate the debate.

3:00 - 4:00 PM - Writing workshop.
Should robots be given the power to engage in moral reasoning? If yes, why? If no, why?

4:00 - 5:00 PM - Dana Library, Electronic Classroom, Room 021
Dr. Robert Nahory and Ann Watkins - Introduction to Information Literacy, Part 4: using library resources for projects. Students will compile notes for the day and continue work on their projects.

5:00 - 6:30 PM - Dinner (Robeson 231)

6:30 - 9:00 PM - Film (Forbidden Planet) at University Square.

 

Friday, July 15 – Center for Urban and Public Service,111 Washington Street, Room 104

9:00 - 10:00 AM - Dana Room, John Cotton Dana Library
Dr. Linda McDonald Glenn (Alden March Center for Bioethics, SUNY at Albany and The University of Vermont Bioethics Institute)
In the future we may be able to upload our minds into robotic bodies. What should we say about such future technology? Is it morally acceptable? Does it violate religious beliefs? Is the end product a human being or something else? If something else, what is it? Dr. Glenn will appear via SKYPE technology.

10:00 - 11:00 AM - Ms Judy Young and Ms Dana Bochna (Institute for Ethical Leadership, Rutgers Business School)
There are many ethical dilemmas that arise in the business world, and some of these dilemmas also arise in commercial applications of robotics. Ms. Bochna and Ms. Young will introduce students to the dilemmas and discuss how they might be resolved. Studnens will use critical thinking tools from the critical thinking workshop to try to steer between the horns of the dilemmas. They will also discuss how cogent ethical reasoning is vital for acquiring sound leadership skills.

11:00 - NOON - Ms Frances Teabout (Rutgers University-Newark Pre-College Program) and Mr. Kevin Davis (Cornwall Center, Rutgers University-Newark)
Ms Teabout and Mr. Davis will talk about Rutgers University-Newark—the most ethnically diverse campus in the United States and its world-renowned programs in business, law, public administration, and the neurosciences. Mr. Davis will talk about enrichment opportunities (such as this very program)—how to find them and how to use them to maximum advantage.

NOON - 1:00 PM - Lunch (Robeson 231)

1:00 - 2:00 PM - Dr. Anne Barnhill (Johns Hopkins University; Berman Institute of Bioethics)
The nature of applied ethics and some basic problems and puzzles, especially those that are relevant to assessing the moral and social implications of robotics, such as the use of robotic parts for enhancing various human capabilities.

2:00 - 3:00 PM - Writing workshop.
If a human being has enough mechanical/digital bodily replacements, will it/he/she become a robot? If yes, why? If no, why?

3:00 - 5:00 PM - Work on group projects for the gala dinner on Saturday.

5:00 - 6:30 Pm - Dinner (Robeson 231)

6:30 - 10:00 PM - Students continue work on their projects for the Gala Banquet Saturday.

 

Saturday, July 16 – Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Room 255– 257

11:00 AM - 3:00 PM - Gala Banquet for students of the Institute and their parents.
Introduction by Dr. Jeff Buechner (Institute Director; Philosophy, Rutgers University–Newark)

Noreen M. Lenart (Senior Ethics Associate, Merck and Company, Inc.)  will discuss Merck’s role in the Merck-Rutgers Summer Bioethics Institute

Diane Hill, Assistant Chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark, will talk about the role of the Institute in connecting Rutgers-Newark with the Newark community.

Alex Plinio (Director of the Institute for Ethical Leadership, Rutgers Business School, and Professor of Business, Rutgers Business School) will discuss the partnership between the Department of Philosophy and the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers, and Merck Pharmaceuticals.

Student groups will present their bioethics projects.
Award ceremony and farewell

 
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