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Delft University of Technology

Mind of the Universe - Robots in Society: Blessing or Curse?

Delft University of Technology via edX


Combining artificial intelligence with robotics may offer positive implications for our society and our well-being. However, it also raises a lot of ethical questions.
In this course we will discuss questions and dilemmas such as:

  • will artificially intelligent robots take away our jobs?
  • will they have their own free will and - as some prophesy - have the power to take over the world?
  • should we program robots to detect and respond to human emotions, and if so how?
  • under what conditions can we use robots for military purposes?

We will also touch upon the design principles that developers should adhere to, and critically reflect on issues such as robot autonomy, consciousness and intelligence.

This course will provide you with plenty of learning resources on this important topic including interviews with top experts in this field.

This course is a spin-off of the "Mind of the Universe" documentary series, created by the Dutch broadcasting company VPRO and professor Robbert Dijkgraaf, Princeton University. A number of universities in The Netherlands have used the open source material of the documentary series as a starting point to create similar learning experiences.


  1. What’s on your mind? Short introduction to the topic and becoming aware of your ideas on the topic
  2. Open up your mind: start listening to experts and read about the topic
  3. Connect your mind: Discuss your ideas with others
  4. Make up your mind: Come up with a great solution

Taught by

Virginia Dignum, Jordi Bieger and Rijk Mercuur

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