A professor I'm friendly with has been teaching a course on AI ethics this semester, and he asked me if I could come give a guest lecture on "AI apocalypse" scenarios. What should I include in the lecture?


  • Audience is mostly graduate engineering students. Some are in a program focused on AI, others are in a systems engineering program and don't otherwise have much knowledge about AI beyond this course.
  • This will be I think the final class for the semester. Previous classes have covered topics like privacy, bias, explainability, social coordination failures (including race to the bottom dynamics), self-driving cars, AI in social media, lethal autonomous weapons, AI in healthcare, implementing ethics in organizations, and the economic impacts of AI. I did not attend those lectures so I don't know exact details of what was or wasn't covered.
  • I have leeway to include pretty much anything I want in the class and to focus on any topic(s) I want. The professor would like me to include something about forecasting, but that's optional.
  • I can optionally assign something short as an assignment before class, but it is the end of the semester so nothing more than that. There will not be any homework based on the class, I think.
  • The class will be 2 hours long.
  • I do not have a huge amount of time to prepare for the lecture - it's relatively soon (April 27) and I have multiple other work / school / family obligations I need to attend to between now and then.

If anybody has relevant material I could use, such as slides or activities, that would be great! Also, if anybody wants to help develop the material for this class, please message me (preferably at my work email - Aryeh.Englander@jhuapl.edu).

As a bonus, I expect that material for a class of this sort may turn out to be useful for plenty of other people on this and related forums, either for themselves or as a tool they can use when presenting the same topic to others.

[Note: I am posting this here with permission from the professor.]

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Adam Shimi


I have a framing of AI risks scenarios that I think is more general and more powerful than most available online, and that might be a good frame before going into examples. It's not posted yet (I'm finishing the sequence now) but I could sent somethings to you if you're interested. ;)