MIT: Independent Activities Period: IAP

IAP 2017

AI, Mass Automation, and the Evolution of Human Dignity

Andrew Kortina, Co-Founder, Fin and Venmo

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 12/29
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions

Civilizations from the ancient Greeks to our own have looked at work as one of the primary sources of meaning and dignity in life. Perhaps it has been useful evolutionarily to esteem work over hedonism, but if we imagine a world of super-technology, where there is no need for most humans to work to provide for the survival of the species, how will our concepts of human dignity shift?

In this class, we'll consider various perspectives on this question, and the class will culminate in an essay, story, or video that explores the future of dignity in a (perhaps dystopian) world of abundance.


Video Essay: Humans Need Not Apply

Essay: Free Will, Technodeterminism, and Panache 

Essay: "They Say the #1 Killer of Old People is Retirement."

Classical Perspectives:

Excerpts from Homer's Iliad and Odyssey

Plato's Apology

Work, Art, Play:

Film: Jiro Dreams of Sushi 

The Tibetan Sand Mandala

Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus

Alan Watts, Play and Dance

Full syllabus, prep questions, and signup here:

Sponsor(s): Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Contact: Andrew Kortina,

Jan/12 Thu 12:00PM-02:00PM 4-153
Jan/13 Fri 12:00PM-02:00PM 4-153

Andrew Kortina - Co-Founder, Fin and Venmo