Tartu, Estonia

Technology and Society

when 7 August 2023 - 11 August 2023
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 EC
fee EUR 400

Technology has a long-standing and seemingly increasing role in contemporary society. Increasing automation of various societal and work processes has an impact on almost every life. In media discourse, these changes are often discussed under the mystical label “artificial intelligence” which is used to describe so many different processes, systems, devices, and ideas that it almost loses any real meaning. What is behind this buzzword? What do people in different groups imagine when they talk about AI? How is the meaning of AI constituted in a dialogue with culture and society? What is the impact of our long-term historical and cultural legacies on the conception and adoption of AI systems? What is the impact of these systems, as they are constructed today, on our society?

The intensive course on technology and society, with a special focus on the so-called “intelligent systems” addresses these questions and many more, giving an interdisciplinary and diverse overview of the main theories, paradigms and discourses at the intersection of technology, society, and language.

During five days of lectures, seminars, and practical exercises we will discuss the entangled history of AI, technology, semiotics, and society; the role of science fiction and pop culture in the discourse on technology; look at some examples of intelligent technologies in society; inquire into the problems created by these systems, and learn to generally make sense of the complex discourses on technology and AI.

Course leader

Auli Viidalepp, PhD student

Target group

all students on the level of BA and MA

Course aim

Students completing this course…

… have an overview of key meanings and objects associated with the concept of AI;

… are familiar with the historical and cultural roots of automated technologies and human-machine comparison;

…are aware of the sociocultural mechanisms that contribute to our interpretations of technology;

…have an understanding of how concepts and meanings circulate in culture;

…have tools for critically reading and analysing the discourses on AI and technology.

Fee info

EUR 400: Course fee
EUR 175: Accommodation in the student dormitories


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