This course will discuss short stories written by Isaac Asimov and published under the title “I, Robot.” We will explore technological, ethical and moral issues including the following questions: Could robots really be a part of our daily life? How exactly will they fit into our society? To what extent is our society prejudiced against or in favor of robots? Will robots be our collaborators, or our guardians? Currently, robots are widely used in industry, military operations and space crafts. These robots are just machines (though very sophisticated) and sometimes capable of making decisions on their own. However, many laboratories are working on developing humanoid robots capable of social interaction. The time when we will have robots teaching in schools and taking care of hospital patients and the elderly may not be far away. What ethical, moral, and legal norms will guide our relations with robots in the future?
I was born in Bulgaria – a small country (about the size of Iowa) in Eastern Europe. While in high school, I used to read science fiction a lot, and that’s how I became fascinated with computers. By that time there was no major in Computer Science, so I got BS in mathematics, and then enrolled in a Master’s program in Computer Science at the University of Sofia (my home town – the capital of Bulgaria). I started work in a research facility and my first large project was in robotics – design and implementation of a specialized programming language for robot control. Working in robotics naturally inspired my interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI), and in the 80′s and 90′s I worked mainly on AI projects, some of which became the core of my Ph. D. thesis on computational models of natural language. Trying to figure out how computers can be programmed to understand and use our language is not an easy task. However, great progress has been made in the last two decades, and in the not so distant future we will have a dialog with our computers as in Star Trek. Working in AI was real fun – I got to know many researchers in that field, I traveled a lot to conferences and workshops, and I visited many countries. I still keep contacts with many of my friends abroad.
In 1993 my husband moved to San Francisco to start a new job at a software consulting company. Four years later I was able to join him with our two children. In 1999 I joined Simpson College and was welcomed by a lovely community with students willing to learn and to experience everything that college life has to offer. I enjoy working with students on various projects related to Artificial Intelligence. For the last two years, the study of Bioinformatics has been the focus of my interests. I have worked with several students on implementing algorithms that process DNA sequences. So far my students have been very successful – every year at least one student attended a conference with a paper accepted for presentation, and many are inspired to continue their education in a graduate school.
Currently I live with my husband in Indianola. Our daughter teaches mathematics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and our son is a graduate student in Computer Science – Robotics at Iowa State University. I don’t have much free time outside Simpson, but I enjoy reading, listening to music and watching science fiction and action movies. Almost every year I travel to Bulgaria – visiting friends and relatives, spending some time in the mountains and some time at the seaside.
Welcome to Simpson College! I’m Holly Baiotto and I am the Simpson Colloquium Leader for Professor Lydia Sinapova’s class of Living with Robots. I’m very excited for this upcoming course because I love technology and the course will address when too much of one thing is bad in our society.
I will be a Sophomore for the 2013-2014 school year. I am pursuing a Physics major and a Computer Science minor at Simpson. After a couple of years I plan to attend another school to complete a mechanical engineering degree. It took me a very long time to decide where to go to college for my major. I am happy I choose Simpson to start off my higher-education because of the small class sizes, professors that care and the benefits of a small liberal arts college. I enjoy being outside on campus and I have the privilege to play golf for the women’s intercollegiate team.
I am originally from a small town named Van Meter, which is forty minutes from Indianola. I enjoy going home every couple weeks to spend time with family. I’m busy on campus with academics, golf practice and a work study job. Other activities that compete for my time are yarn club, shooting club, salt company and physics club. During my off time I enjoy knitting, quilting, and being outdoors whether it’s fishing, kayaking, shooting guns or geocaching.
I like to describe myself as a down to earth person who uses common sense. I’m a very easy person to talk to and hope to get in contact with you before summer registration. If there are any questions or concerns feel free to contact me through email or on Facebook. I look forward to helping you transition to college life and can’t wait to get to know you.
Hi, my name is Scott Henry and I am going into my second year at Simpson. I am currently an Actuarial Science major and plan to go into insurance. I like to write more research based papers, but also do fairly well with novel based papers. I plan on being very involved in the SC class. I have read I, Robot, and really enjoy the social and ethical commentary that it shows. I think you will all enjoy this class as well as the book. I am currently on the debate team here at Simpson and I judge a fair amount of high school debate. I like the standard college TV shows, Family Guy, South Park, Colbert Report, Daily Show, and any cartoon made for kids. I also like the Batman trilogy, as well as all of Star Trek and Star Wars.
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