The course described on this page ended December 15, 2004

FSEM 198. Mind and Machine:
Natural and Artificial Intelligence

   Fall, 2004.

   Instructor:  David J. Eck  (

   Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:45 -- 10:10 AM.
   Stern Hall, Room 101.

   Course Handout:

   Office Hours for Fall 2004:  
            Monday and Wednesday,    1:00-- 1:50
            Tuesday through Friday, 10:30--11:30

Some Links...

Assignments and other information for FYS 198
will be posted here weekly during Fall 2004.

End of Term

Well, the course has run its course, and although it has been fun, I'm sure that everyone is looking forward to the holidays.

Enjoy the holidays! And I'll see you next term!

Final papers should be turned in during my office hours:

         Monday, December 13:    11:00 -- 12:00
         Tuesday, December 14:   11:00 -- 3:00 
         Wednesday, December 15: 12:00 -- 4:00
         Thursday, December 16:  12:00 -- 1:30

Fifteenth Week: December 7 and 9

In this final week of classes, we will finish reading Emergence and wrap up the course. For Tuesday, you should read Chapters 3, 4, 5 from Emergence, and for Thursday, you should read Chapters 6 and 7.

Also for Tuesday, you should be prepared to say what topic you will be writing about for your your final project.

Fourteenth Week: November 30 and December 2

You should read Chapters 1 and 2 of Steven Johnson's book, Emergence, for Tuesday.

On Thursday, we will have the final student presentation, which is on Artificial Life.

You should be thinking about what you will do for your final project. Next week, I will ask you for a statement of your final project topic

Thirteenth Week: November 23

There is only one class this week, because of Thanksgiving break. You have a paper due on Tuesday. You should be prepared to discuss your paper in class.

Also for Tuesday's class, you should read the Introduction of the book Emergence, by Stephen Johnson, pages 11 to 23. We will get started seriously on this book after break.

Twelfth Week: November 16 and 18

There are more readings from Sacks and from Scientific American for Tuesday. On Thursday, there will be a presentation on Antonio Damasio's Descartes' Error.

The reading for Tuesday is:

Eleventh Week: November 9 and 11

This is the first of two weeks that we will spend on Oliver Sack's book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and related ideas. On Thursday, there will be a student presentation on another of Sack's books, An Anthropologist on Mars. The reading for Tuesday is

Please be sure to read the postscripts to each selection in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

Tenth Week: November 2 and 4

We will be finishing up On the Internet on Tuesday. On Thursday, the plan is to have a more focused discussion of the problem of consciousness than we have so far. The reading for Tuesday, November 2, is:

For Thursday, there are three additional readings:

Registration for Spring term is coming up soon. On Tuesday, I will have a list of times when people can sign up with me for advising appointments.

Ninth Week: October 26 and 28

The reading for Tuesday is the Introduction, Chapter 1, and Chapter 2 from On The Internet, by Hubert Dreyfus. On Thursday, there will be a student presentation by Lori Pietraszek and Zach Schonfield on Sherry Turkle's work. Turkle is a sociologist who has studied the impact of computers and the Internet on society. An additional reading on this material for Thursday's class will be handed out on Tuesday.

Eighth Week: October 19 and 21

We will be finishing up Hans Moravec's book, ROBOT, on Tuesday. The reading for Tuesdays is Chapters 4 and 5. There are four short readings for Thursday:

Seventh Week: October 14

There is no class this Tuesday, on account of Fall Break.

The reading for Thursday is Chapters 2 and 3 of ROBOT, by Hans Moravec.

Sixth Week: October 5 and 7

Your first writing assignment is due in class on Tuesday. We will spend part of the class on Tuesday discussing your papers.

The reading for Tuesday is the Preface and Chapter 1 of ROBOT: Mere Machine to Transcendental Mind, by Hans Moravec. This is a very short reading; we will get more seriously into this book over the next two weeks. In addition to this reading, we will spend some time on Tuesday discussing the video, Giant Brains, that was shown in class last Thursday.

The second student presentation/discussion will take place on Thursday. This week, Alex Tye and Jesse McConnell will be talking about the book AI: The Tumultuous History of the Search for Artificial Intelligence, by Daniel Crevier. You should receive some reading material for this topic on Tuesday.

Fifth Week: September 28 and 30

You should read Chapters 11 and 12 of The Language Instinct for Tuesday. This is our last reading from that book. There is no additional reading for Thursday. It is possible that we will watch a video, Giant Brains, about the early history of computing in class on Thursday.

Remember that your first paper is due next Tuesday, October 5. I will also ask you to read the Introduction and Chapter 1 of Robot for that class.

Fourth Week: September 21 and 23

The main reading for the week is Chapters 8 and 9 from The Language Instinct. After this, we will skip Chapter 10 and finish up next week with Chapters 10 and 11.

The first student presentation will be on Thursday. Ted Brzek and Nicole Henderson will give a presentation and lead a discussion on Animal Minds. There will be a handout for you to read in advance of this presentation.

The first writing assignment will be due on Tuesday, October 5. See the writing assignment handout for details.

Third Week: September 14 and 16

Before you come to class on Tuesday, you should watch the movie, AI: Artificial Intelligence. You should also read the short handout, "The Soul of the Mark III Beast." (Will there be a quiz on this...? Who knows.)

The reading for Thursday is Chapter 7 of The Language Instinct and the story "How Trurl's Own Perfection Led to No Good" from The Cyberiad.

Second Week: September 7 and 9

The reading for Tuesday of this week is Chapters 3 and 4 of The Language Instinct. You will find that much of Chapter 4 is rather technical. It's a good idea for us to look at some of this technical material, but we will be skipping Chapters 5 and 6. Chapters 5 and 6 do for words and morphemes what Chapter 4 does for sentences -- that is, explain the rules that are used to construct them out of simpler parts.

For Thursday, you should read "Trurl's Electronic Bard," pages 43--57 in The Cyberiad, and "Visualizing the Mind," pages 43--53 in The Scientific American Book of the Brain.

In class last week, we decided who be assigned to each of the six group projects. Here are the assignments:

          September 23: "Animal Minds"                October 7:  "AI" by Daniel Crevier
               Nicole Henderson                            Alex Tye
               Ted Brzek                                   Jesse McConnell
          October 28: Books by Sherry Turkle          Novermber 11:  "An Anthropologist on Mars"
               Lori Pietraszek                             Jamie Stevens
               Zach Schonfield                             Chris Woytovich
          November 18: "Descartes' Error"             December 2:  "Artificial Life"
               Tyler Paul                                  Mark Abroms
               Dan O'Grady                                 Sean Murphy

First Week: August 31 and September 2

Before the first day of class, you should read Alan Turing's paper, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," which is available on the web at The readings for Thursday are "How the World Was Saved," from the Cyberiad and Chapters 1 and 2 of The Language Instinct. You can expect the first quiz of the term at the beginning of class on Thursday.

On Tuesday, I will hand out a list of the six group projects for the course. A pair of students will be assigned to each project. Presentations for the project will take place throughout the rest of the term. We'll decide which students will work on which projects on Thursday.

This course was taught last year using many of the same books. You might want to take a look at last year's web page to get some idea of what the course will be like. You can find it on the Web at