This intensive, accelerated course satisfies concurrently the UC Entry Level Writing Requirement and the first half (Part A) of the Reading & Composition Requirement. It offers students structured, sustained, and highly articulated practice in the recursive processes entailed in reading, critical analysis, and composing. Readings include imaginative, expository, and argumentative texts comparable in complexity to those encountered in the lower-division curriculum. Texts are chosen to represent views and perspectives of authors from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. Students read five thematically related book-length texts, or the equivalent, drawn from a range of genres, in addition to non-print sources. In response to these materials, they craft numerous short pieces leading up to three to five essays—works that include elements of narration, exposition, and argument. Students write a minimum of 40 pages of prose during this semester and they compose an annotated portfolio that showcases their best work.
FUTURESPACE: "the future” as it co-exists with "the now.” Our primary interests are contemporary imaginations and representations of the near future, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), including emergent "sentience" and its applications. We'll analyze popular streaming TV (Black Mirror), and documentary film; in the novel Tell the Machine Goodnight, we'll consider an AI that uses DNA swabs to prescribe "contentment plans." We'll read the non-fiction prose of expert AI practitioners, researchers, and philosophers of science, tackling their arguments on sentience as savior and existential threat.
We'll be synchronously online ~50% of each class, and use other learning-teaching modes ~50%. You do need to be fully available for each class.
Artificial Intelligence: Will We Survive What We Create?
The Fears in Our Fictions: Justified? Or Paranoid?
The Near Future: What Does Science Say?
Super-Intelligence: How Do We Maximize Its Opportunities?
In FUTURESPACE, you'll expand how you: read, through meta-cognition & problem-solving; analyze complex texts; generate meaningful inquiries & theses; and compose, through the production of "classic" alphabetic prose texts & multimodal projects. You'll culminate your semester with a website portfolio showcasing your best work.