Introduction to the Ethics of AI 2022/23

University of Osnabrück, Winter Term 2022/23, Prof. Dr. Rainer Mühlhoff


The lecture is public and can be accessed in three formats:

  • On site: Tuesdays 10–12, starting 25 October, room 11/212.
  • Live stream on Big Blue Button: Tuesdays 10–12 [Link]
  • Asynchronous participation via video recordings, see below. Recordings will be made available on Wednesdays every week.


The lecture is an ideal starting point to get an orientation in the field and to possibly start engaging with more specialized courses and/or research projects in the context of the Ethics of AI group at the UOS. The lecture will provide an overview of problems, philosophical theories and methods that comprise the field of Ethics of AI. This includes both the philosophical foundations of ethics and critical theory as well as different technological phenomena and legal aspects of AI. A particular focus will be on contemporary data-driven and machine learning-based AI technology and its applications in digital consumer media. As we will see, questions of social equality and fairness are central to today’s ethical concerns about AI, so that ethics needs to adopt a societal perspective, analysing constellations of power, discrimination and subordination that relate to AI technology. We will also touch on relevant legal debates such as privacy and data protection legislation.


Session Date Lecture Topic Discussion Groups
1 25.10. Introduction [no discussion groups]
Coeckelbergh, Mark. 2020. AI Ethics. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Chapters 1–2.
2 01.11. What is AI today? / Human-Aided AI Videos:
1) “Human Computation”, Google Tech Talk by Luis von Ahn, 2006. YouTube
2) “Artificial Intelligence is the New Electricity”, Stanford Talk by Andrew Ng, 2017. YouTube
3* 08.11. Ethics 101 Dignum, Reponsible AI, Chapter 3.
4 15.11. Power I Sattarov, Faridun. 2019. Power and Technology: A Philosophical and Ethical Analysis. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
5* 22.11. Bias & Discrimination I Texts on Subjectivity
6 29.11. Bias & Discrimination II Videos: Joy Buolamwini and Kimberle Crenshaw
7* 06.12. Power II Friedman, Batya, and Helen Nissenbaum. 1996. “Bias in computer systems.” ACM Transactions on Information Systems 14(3).
8 13.12. Midterm Q&A Coeckelbergh, Mark. „Artificial intelligence, responsibility attribution, and a relational justification of explainability“. Science and Engineering Ethics 26(4), 2020: 2051–68.
9* 20.12. Responsibility & Explainability [no special content / help on video homeworks]
10 10.01. AI Paternalism tba
11* 17.01. Data Protection I tba
12 24.01. Data Protection II tba
13* 31.01. tba tba
14 07.02. Written exam / Klausur [no discussion groups]

* = streaming in BBB + 11/212

Discussion groups

The class is offered as a lecture with discussion groups (Vorlesung mit Übung). To earn ECTS points, students will have to participate in the 2 hr/week lecture and in a 2 hr/week discussion group. You will then get 6 ECTS points.

Please find the list of available discussion groups here.

Video/audio homework

Students who would like to obtain ECTS points for the lecture need to hand in a video or audio podcast once during the semester.

Please find details, advice & FAQ on video/audio homework here.

Recorded Sessions

To watch the videos, you will be asked for a login:
username = lecture
the password is et.hi.cs.ofai without the dots.

Session 1, 25 October 2022


watch (password see below)

Session 2, 1 November 2022

What kind of AI?

watch (password see below)

Session 3, 8 November 2022

What kind of Ethics?

watch (password see below)

Session 4, 15 November 2022

Power I

watch (password see below)

Session 5, 22 November 2022

Bias & Discrimination I

watch (password see below)

Session 6, 29 November 2022

Bias & Discrimination II

watch (password see below)

username = lecture
the password is et.hi.cs.ofai without the dots.

The videos are for individual use only. Re-distribution is prohibited.