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2024/2025  BA-BINTV2401U  Big Tech in the Age of AI: Technical and Societal Challenges

English Title
Big Tech in the Age of AI: Technical and Societal Challenges

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
Max. participants 120
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Daniel Hardt - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Information technology
  • Communication
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 25-01-2024

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Assess and critically examine current analyses of Big Tech, as reflected in course readings, workshops and videos.
  • Assess positive and negative views on the future potential of AI, including the potential for General Artificial Intelligence (GAI), including historical and current discussions of these issues. Also assess views on the social and economic effects of AI.
  • Assess the value and relevance of computational tools presented throughout the course in relation to their application in specific cases/scenarios. These are tools exemplifying key technologies of Big Tech, such as ChatBots, Digital Assistants, and Automatic Translation.
  • Assess and critically examine proposed solutions to the problem of Big Tech, as reflected in course readings, workshops and videos.
Big Tech in the Age of AI: Technical and Societal Challenges:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance, see also the rules about examination forms in the programme regulations.
Individual or group exam Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-4
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Release of assignment The Assignment is released in Digital Exam (DE) at exam start
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
A new case and/or a new series of essay questions will form the basis of the re-exam.
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Big Tech is running the world. Google, Facebook, Amazon are among the
most powerful companies on the planet. They have amassed this power through
astonishing technological innovation and productivity -- with search,
social networking, and online shopping, these companies have re-woven
the very fabric of everyday life. As a result, we can now access
information, communicate, and access consumer goods in ways that would
have been almost inconceivable just a few years ago. Incredibly,
digital access to this bounty is available essentially for free,
across the entire world.


But there's a problem. The course is about exactly what the problem is
with big tech -- and more importantly, how to fix it. Overshadowing all this

development is one particular technology, namely Artificial Intelligence, which

has exploded in public consciousness with the emergence of generative AI.

Many believe that AI is now poised to usher in a kind of utopia with unprecedented improvements in productivity and general living standards. We will examine

this vision of AI, looking at its history, how it works today, and where it is
likely to take us. Ultimately, the promise of AI is to unlock the inner workings
of the human mind -- we are still pretty far from that goal. But in
the meantime, Big Tech is busy applying AI to actual human minds
across the globe. The Internet has become a vast, unprecedented
psychology experiment being performed on billions of unwitting subjects. 


In this course, we seek concrete, practical solutions to the social problems posed by Big Tech, in the age of AI. These solutions can't be simply walking away from our
technology. In fact, in large part the solution lies within the technology itself, and

we will see in this course that parts of the solution have been in plain sight all along. Jaron Lanier argues that the solution lies in the humanistic digital economy already envisioned in the 1960's in the work of Ted Nelson, involving technical
mechanisms such as micropayments, and two-way links that empower
individuals and protect the integrity of content.



Description of the teaching methods
This is a blended 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, in-person workshops, 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.
Feedback during the teaching period
In each session, students make contributions to online forums, based on topics identified in the readings and online material. Students receive feedback from other students in the forum; in addition, the teacher provides overall feedback for the student contributions after each session. Furthermore, there will be two in-person workshops during the course.

Students also are presented with regular quizzes which provide automatic feedback on their answers.

The teacher is available for weekly office hours in which students receive feedback of various forms, including feedback on their weekly contribution to the discussion forums.

Students receive written feedback on their final papers in Digital Exam.
Student workload
Reading 40 hours
Online Lectures and other videos 34 hours
Online activities 64 hours
In person lectures 8 hours
Exam and Preparation for Exam 60 hours
Total 206 hours
Expected literature

The literature can be changed before the semester starts. Students are advised to find the final literature on Canvas before they buy any material.


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


Shoshana Zuboff. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. Profile Books, 2019


McAfee, Andrew  and Brynjolfsson, Erik. Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future. W. W. Norton & Company, 2017.

Last updated on 25-01-2024