CS-E4002: Special Course in Computer Science:
Critical AI and Data Justice in Society

Instructor: Prof. Nitin Sawhney
Department of Computer Science, Aalto University
Teaching Assistants: Henriette Friis and Sid Rao

Credits: 3 cr (or 5 cr for submitting essay/paper)

Level: Advanced Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral

Feb 4th to April 8th (10 weeks)
Thursday 16:15 – 18:00

Course Description 
The course critically examines the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI), autonomous systems, and data-centric technologies in society. We will interrogate these concerns using cross-disciplinary theories and practices embedded in the ethics of AI, intersectional feminist perspectives, Global South and indigenous experiences, as well as civic debates and human rights discourses. The goal is to reveal the socio-political implications for protest, surveillance, democratic participation, misinformation, gender and racial equity, civic engagement and social justice.

>> Check out the Topics and Readings

Learning Outcomes
Students will read and co-present articles (in pairs) on a weekly basis around topics of interest, with another pair of participants asking questions. Moving from a place of curiosity and reflection, participants will learn to understand and interrogate the implications of emerging technologies and practices in society through the lens of critical theory, ethics, values and civic activism. Through thought-provoking discussions we will re-frame dilemmas and narratives to propose alternative solutions, design/technology interventions, and ethical policies in society. 


  • Participants are expected to co-present one article from a collectively curated reading list, and prepare probing questions to spur discussions of another article.
  • Based on the sessions, presenting students should also share reflections about the topic and questions emerging on the course blog.
  • Participants must participate actively in all sessions (80% attendance is required).
  • For 2 extra credits, participants should prepare an essay or paper related to one or more topics discussed in the seminar, and peer-review two papers by other participants.

None. Course content will be tailored to students with different backgrounds and levels of experience. We welcome students from different disciplines including science/engineering, business, arts/design, architecture, humanities and social sciences. 

MyCourses: https://mycourses.aalto.fi/course/view.php?id=30726

Photo credit: Almos Bechtold on Unsplash