2017 TUFS Summer Intensive

Week 1

Lesson 1


  • Welcome and course introduction: official course syllabus.
  • Why are we here and what are we doing?
  • What do people mean when they talk about the old and new worlds?
  • What is this thing called education, and what is it supposed to do?
  • How does technology affect us?
  • How to watch TED talks.

    Watch this TED talk by Sugata Mitra, paying careful attention to the first part where he discusses the history and requirements of the education system he knows.

    Lesson 2


  • The attention problem.
    How much do we really see?

  • An eye or brain problem?
    Sometimes, you just can't stop your brain.

  • What is intelligence and how our ideas about it are changing.
    They're Made out of Meat.

  • Why has creativity suddenly become so important?
  • Do educators understand creativity in the classroom?

    Ken Robinson on "Do schools kill creativity?"

  • Problem solving activity set one.

    • Read the article Deep Intellect.

    • Think deeply about the following questions. As much as possible try to find examples and evidence that both supports and counters tour ideas.

      1. What would be a definition of intelligence that works for both humans and octopi?
      2. What does it mean to have a mind?
      3. How do we know how to identify minds?
      4. How does the octopus' nervous system inform its "worldview"?
      5. People like to play. Octopuses like to play. Jackie the poodle can chase a ball for hours. What is play and why do creatures with "minds" like to play?
      6. What is the relationship between play and creativity?
      7. If octopuses were designing a school, what would it be like?
      8. How do you think Ken Robinson would interact with an octopus,
      9. Is it possible that human minds are as different from one another, as our minds are different from octopuses' minds.

    Week 2

    Lesson 3


    Lesson 4

    • What is AI and why does it matter?

    • How smart can a bird be?

    The limits of logical thinking?

    Nick Bostrom on "What happens when our computers get smarter than we are?"


    • Please read two or three of the responses to "What is a robot?".

    • Then please read What Jobs Will the Robots Take?

    • Using your notes from the articles and our class discussions, prepare a seven to ten minute talk about how young people should prepare for a world where many jobs are done by AI and robots. You may use slides if you wish, but you should focus on putting together an organized and detailed talk that will help your classmates understand your ideas. Some questions you might want to think about:

      • What jobs can machines not do? What is your evidence?
      • What is special or unique about human intelligence?
      • What is special or unique about machine intelligence?
      • Assuming that intelligent machines (AI) might be able to do many of the tasks that we consider jobs, what jobs or careers might be safe?
      • How should you be taught for the future? Or, is being taught an obsolete idea?
      • What changes would you make to the education system (from elementary to university level) to deal with this possible future?
      • Or, is all hype and nothing will really change and education can continue as it is now?

    Week 3

    Lesson 5


  • Review.
  • Graded presentations.
  • Problem solving activity. NASA survival game.

    Lesson 6


  • Introduction to the rational agent problem and cognitive bias.
  • "The Ultimatum Game".
  • "Prisoner's Dilemma".
  • Daniel Kahneman on The riddle of experience vs. memory.

    Lesson 7

  • Final impromptu graded discussions.
  • Critical thinking exercise
  • Creative thinking exercise
  • Becoming a life-long learner.

    Active Learning Assignment

  • The problem with change.
  • Read this article about people being opposed to change. Humans once opposed coffee and refrigeration. Here’s why we often hate
    new stuff

  • After reading and thinking about the problem of getting people to accept change, write approximately 400 words about how you would change your education at TUFS and how you would get your teachers to accept your suggestions. Please format your paper according to the following rules:

    • identifying information in the top left corner
    • use Times New Roman 12
    • use double spacing
    • spell check your paper and make sure there are no typos
    • the deadline is August 14 at 23:59:59. By the way, deadline means you're a fish out of water.

    Please send your homework as an email attachment using the email address I give you in class.

    Suggested readings
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins
    • Just Babies by Paul Bloom
    • The Better Angles of Our Nature by Steven Pinker