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2015/2016  BA-BINTV2001U  Who Owns the Future? The Promise and Perils of the Coming Big Data Revolution

English Title
Who Owns the Future? The Promise and Perils of the Coming Big Data Revolution

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Second Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Daniel Hardt - Department of IT Mangement (ITM)
Main academic disciplines
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Information technology
  • Communication
Last updated on 13-08-2015
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Explain and critically examine central Big Data concepts: what is special about Big Data? How does Big Data relate to Moore's Law?
  • Describe and discuss key principles underlying relevant Artificial Intelligence technologies, including the relation between Machine Learning and AI
  • Assess positive and negative views on the future potential of AI Technology, including concepts such as the Turing Test and the Singularity
  • Explain and assess major critiques concerning the negative impacts of Big Data
  • Assess the value and relevance of Big Data concepts and related computational tools presented throughout the course in relation to their application in specific cases/scenarios. This includes technologies such as Social Media Analysis and Data Mining, 3D Printing, Chatbots, and Automatic Translation.
  • Demonstrate the ability to reflect on your own activities and interactions throughout the course by identifying a portfolio of own contributions and arguing for their relevance to the exam.
Who Owns the Future? The Promise and Perils of the Coming Big Data Revolution:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Report
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure



Scarcely a day goes by without reports of revolutionary new technologies, many of which promise to transform whole industries, from finance to health care to translation. This technological development is powered by exponential growth in the availability of Big Data, together with similar growth in the computing power to exploit that data. Many believe that this development is ushering in an era of genuine Artificial Intelligence (AI), with unprecedented improvements in productivity and general living standards. In this course we will critically examine this utopian vision, focusing on two inter-related issues: the technology, and its impact.
Technology: AI practitioners themselves are deeply divided about the question of whether true AI is right on the horizon, or is in fact a long way off.  We will take a detailed look at key AI technologies to better understand this debate, and separate the hype and misunderstanding from the true potential. An understanding of these technologies is rapidly becoming essential for managers and decision makers in business and government. 
Impact: the utopian future being ushered in by Big Data and AI seems almost inevitable. At the same time, there appears to be a “dark side” to these developments: Big Data is central to the abuses of privacy which also seem to be increasing dramatically from both business and government. Also disturbing is that the undeniable technological progress we are witnessing does not seem to be contributing to general well-being -- instead, there is the paradox of accelerating productivity improvements coinciding with economic stagnation.



Teaching methods
This is a fully online course. The course will run over 8 weeks. The course will consist of asynchronous and/or synchronous online lectures, asynchronous and/or synchronous online discussions, quizzes and individual and/or group assignments. Literature on the specific topics will be assigned during the quarter. The readings will also build the foundation on which we will discuss cases online, and they provide the necessary knowledge to work with home assignments. The lecturer will be available for asynchronous and/or synchronous online discussions throughout the 8 weeks in which the course runs. Students will get hands-on experience in the development, deployment and assessment of computational tools.While students will gain an understanding of key principles underlying these computational tools, students are not required to know how to program, and the focus will be conceptual rather than technical. Student participation will be targeted at producing insights that are meant to be covered in the final exam project.
Student workload
Online activities and preparation 147 hours
Exam and Preparation for Exam 60 hours
Further Information

As this is a online course, no rooms are booked.
Online course will run from week 44-51

Expected literature

Who Owns the Future? Jaron Lanier, Simon & Schuster, 2013

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, Brynjolfsson, E., & McAfee, A. W. W. Norton & Company, 2014

Last updated on 13-08-2015