Artificial Intelligence and Human Security

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

The Module presents a critical analysis of Artificial Intelligence with a particular emphasis on its implication for human security. It connects current research into the ethics of AI, to comparative philosophies including the socio-economic theories of the Frankfurt School and their emphasis on the perils of modern forms of production for human existence and the threat of “perfectionism” in capitalist societies. In addition, the course will consider the “techno-politics” of Paul Virilio and the critical approaches of Iranian philosophers such as Jamal Al-e Ahmad. Through this multi-disciplinary approach the course interrogates current strides in AI research and their ethical implications along four themes: Warfare, state and society, surveillance, and international relations more generally. Taken together these themes are connected to the spectre of human security: What are the threats and benefits of AI research for our individual security as citizens? How will AI affect larger security issues in world politics? What are the contributions and threats of machine intelligence for our concept of “human rights”? These are some of the central questions that this course will address as one of the first such classes in the United Kingdom and beyond.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Apply political philosophies to current research into the ethics of Artificial Intelligence
  • Conceptualise the connection between human security and AI
  • Evaluate the impact on AI on individual and international security
  • Assess the national and international threats and benefits of AI research
  • To understand the concept of human security within the framework of AI
  • To evaluate the impact of AI on state-society relations, warfare, citizenship and international relations


This module will be taught over 10 weeks with:

  • 2 hour seminar per week

Method of assessment

  • Assignment 1: 50%
  • Assignment 2: 50%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules