FSEM 198, Fall 2004:
Writing Assignment 2;
Final Writing Assignment

AS YOU KNOW, there are three writing assignments in this course, in addition to the group project. This page describes the second and third of the writing assignments. I am giving you plenty of advance notice about these assignments so that you can space out your work on them over the rest of the term. It is never too early to start thinking about your final project topic!

Second Writing Assignment

The second writing assignment is due at the beginning of class on Tuesday, November 26. The paper should be in double-spaced format and should be about 4 pages long. You'll have an opportunity to rewrite the paper if you are not satisfied with your grade on the first version. This paper counts for 15% of your final grade for the course.

The general topic for the paper is "Moravec versus Dreyfus." You have read Moravec's ROBOT and Dreyfus' On the Internet, so you know that they have very different opinions about the nature and future of artificial intelligence. You should write a paper that compares their positions and discusses their evidence.

You will have to decide on the exact approach that you want to use for this topic. You might want to write a basic "compare and contrast" paper. You might be more interested in discussing the personal conflict between the pro- and anti-AI camps. You might want to argue that one side is right and the other is wrong. You might want to look for things that both sides agree on. It's up to you.

For this paper, you are required to use a selection of perspicuous quotes from both ROBOT and On the Internet. You can use other sources in addition to these, if you want. Both Moravec and Dreyfus have written other things, and other people have written about them. There are other people with similar views that you might want to bring into the picture. You might find other sources useful in evaluating the evidence offered by Dreyfus and Moravec. Other readings from the course might throw light on the issues. Once again, the exact design of the paper is up to you.

Final Writing Assignment

The final writing assignment for the course is due at the regularly scheduled final examination period for this course, Wednesday, December 15, at 7:00 PM. (You can turn it in earlier if you like; you are not required to be present for the final exam period.)

The final paper is worth 20% of your grade for the course. It should be about 6 double-spaced pages long. Your bibliography for the paper must include several non-Web sources, not including things that we read for the course. (Material that is published in hard copy, such as newspaper and magazine articles, and also appears on the web can be counted as "non-Web", as long as it is referenced to the original published source.) You should start working on the research for the paper soon, in case you need to use interlibrary load to get some of your sources. When you are looking for sources, I suggest that you ask the librarians for help in using the various resources that are available in the library.

There is no specific assigned topic for the final project. You should select a topic related to the course and get my approval before you begin working on it. The topic might be inspired by class readings, discussion, or presentations, but this is not required. (You should, however, avoid doing a paper related to your own presentation topic, unless it goes significantly beyond what you covered in your original paper on the topic.) Here are some ideas to get you started:

This is not meant to be a complete list of possibility topics. You can develop a topic based on one of these suggestions, or you can choose an entirely different topic on your own.

David Eck