Artificial intelligence is becoming ubiquitous in today's society from the factory floor to our homes. Sometimes learnt and others hardcoded, the intelligence that informs the behavior of devices such as self driving cars, toys or nursebots functions in a narrow, pre-defined domain. "Alive Enough" is an exploration of what makes something conscious and why us thinking that something is conscious has an effect on us when we interact with it.
As a way of exploring what consciousness is, we will have class discussions and assign nightly readings and videos. We will also have expert, Freedom Baird, speak with the class. Students will then design and fabricate a robot that in some way makes "us" think that it is conscious. These robots will respond in some way to physical abuse, e.g., pinching, being held upside down, yelled at etc. as a way of understanding how a toy's response to this abuse creates an effect on the user/abuser.