Thinking Philosophically about Technology by Watching Films (PDF)


— PART A: Software and Hardware —

WEEK 1: Social media, part 1

Lecture (can start at 1h06min):

Nosedive (2016, by Joe Wright, 1hr3min)

Netflix ($), Black Mirror series, season 3, episode 1

WEEK 2: Basics of philosophy

Lecture (taken from another class, but same content):

WEEK 3: More basics of philosophy + Social media, part 2


The Social Dilemma (2020, by Jeff Orlowski, 1hr34min)

Netflix ($):

Quit social media (2016, by Cal Newport, 14min)

WEEK 4: Data, surveillance, and control

Shoshana Zuboff on surveillance capitalism (2019, by VPRO, 50min)

(Be sure to activate the captions or “CC” button for the few parts in foreign language)

The Selfish Ledger (2016, by Nick Foster, 9min)

A disturbing concept to reshape humanity with data (2018, by The Verge, 8min)

Neuralink demonstration (4min)


WEEK 5: Artificial people, part 1 (software)

How Far is Too Far? (2019, by R. Downey Jr., 35min)

Her (2013, by Spike Jonze, 2hr6min)

YouTube ($):

John Searle’s Chinese room thought-experiment (2015, by BBC, 4min)


WEEK 6: Artificial people, part 2 (hardware)

Love, art and stories: decoded (2019, by R. Downey Jr., 39 min)

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001, by Steven Spielberg, 2hr26min)


— PART B: Wetware and Beyond —

WEEK 7: Energy and futurology

Into Eternity (2010, by Michael Madsen, 59min)


WEEK 8: Matching, then exceeding, what humans do/want

AlphaGo (2017, by Greg Kohs, 1hr31min)

Humans need not Apply (2014, by C.G.P. Grey, 15min)

Superintelligent AI is an Existential Risk to Humanity (2020, by Science Time, 10min)

Arguments against the singularity (2016, by Luciano Floridi, 9min)!AkKHvnxAJJZyhMpvLzu9WLMwEXvalA?e=L78rXM

Can we build AI without losing control over it? (2016, by Sam Harris, 15min)


WEEK 9: Biotechnology, part 1 (animals)

Genesis 2.0 (2018, by Maxim Arbugaev and Christian Frei, 1hr52min)

YouTube ($):


WEEK 10: Biotechnology, part 2 (humans)

Gattaca (1997, by Andrew Niccol, 1hr46min)


WEEK 11: Enlarging the body’s boundaries and abilities

Can we create new senses for humans? (2015, by David Eagleman, 21min)

The entire history of you (2011, by Brian Welsh, 49min)

Netflix ($), Black Mirror series, season 1, episode 3

Could we live forever? (2015, by BBC News, 13min)

Advantageous (2013, by Jennifer Phang, 24min)

PostHuman: An Intro. to Transhumanism (2013, by Brit. Inst. Posthum. Studies, 11min)

TechnoCalyps (2006, by Frank Theys, 51min)

(For parts in French near minute 35, just look at English captions already there at bottom)


WEEK 12: Meaningless efficiency, meaningful inefficiency

THX 1138, director’s cut (2004, by George Lucas, 1hr25min)

YouTube ($):

Tao Ruspoli, short clip (2010, 2min)

Being in the World (2010, by Tao Ruspoli, 1hr21min)