Fall 2016

The Digital Society holds all-class meetings on Tuesdays 2:30pm-4:30pm at Hillman Hall, room 70; discussion sections take place throughout the week. Course syllabus & weekly assignments.


Course Overview

Our modern Digital Society is both exciting and challenging. As the effectiveness of computing advances, and digital technologies like the Internet and algorithmic decision-making affect and penetrate more and more aspects of our lives, we face extraordinary opportunities and equally extraordinary challenges. Computer-driven automation increases our quality of life but eradicates our jobs! The Internet and Smartphones keep us connected but subject us to growing corporate, government and criminal surveillance! 

In this course, co-taught by professors from the Schools of Engineering and Law, we will examine the fundamental technical underpinnings of Digital Society and its consequences. We will discuss “Welcome to the Future,” “The Future of Jobs,” and “The Future of Humans.” All aspects of life are evolving rapidly in our Digital Society, and we will draw on expert and engaging guest speakers from all seven Schools of Washington University and intellectual leaders from beyond our campus to share their perspectives and insights.

This course will help students to perceive the modern world in new ways in order to better understand how technological shifts are changing and challenging notions of individual and collective prosperity. Our goal is to give students both the technical understanding of how our new technologies work and the critical skills to evaluate them for themselves as citizens and leaders of our new Digital Society.