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Introduction Digitalisation and Robotisation


Entry requirements

Second year students of the Honours College FSW programme, Science & Society track.

Course Description

In this introductory module we explore current processes of the digitalization of society, both at home and elsewhere, and in its aftermath, the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence within all domains of everyday life. When all becomes binary code we are confronted by new everyday challenges, from care robots to the ‘internet of things’. Increasingly so we are facing the possible downside of digital society, including the ancient fear of machine and technology taking over or at best deeming us to a new post-corporal stage in which machine and human are destined to blend. We will start our course by briefly investigating the hopes and fears surrounding robots and artificial intelligence in the popular imagination, myth and Sci-Fi, to more specifically focus on its latest incarnation, the algorithm. The consequences of algorithmic culture are yet difficult to foresee but its current use in surveillance, credit systems and all sorts of predictive analytics leads us already to speculate about a new digital divide that is ahead, waiting for us. A divide in which algorithmic power is to those with access to and knowledge of big data sets, with others doomed to be ruled by the machine.

Learning objectives

At successful completion of this introductory course, you will:

  • be familiar with the latest scientific insights on digitalization, robotization and algorithmic culture in various disciplines;

  • be familiar with current scientific debates on the use of digital technology in our everyday lives and the challenges and constraints that come with it:

  • be able to take and defend your position in current scientific debates on digitalisation and robotization

  • be able to develop interventions that question the future development of digital technologies, robotization plus algorithmic culture and the possible ways they are to have an impact on our everyday lives.

Mode of instruction

In this course, your active participation is required from the start. Before the first meeting, you will read seminal texts on digitalisation and robotization. In the first meeting, you will be challenged to critically examine these texts. You will also select a specific case to study in-depth together with a fellow student. In the second meeting, the instructor will present a case study as a source of inspiration for you to tackle your own case study. In the third meeting, you will debate with your fellow students on core issues of digitalisation and robotization. The course is concluded with the presentation of your case study in a poster presentation.


The Hague

Number of Participants

Maximum: 50 participants


You will receive qualitative feedback on your poster. Assessment of your participation in the categories insufficient, good or excellent will be based on commitment during class, courage and/or skill in debate and innovativeness and thoroughness of your poster.


Date Time Location Room
Oct 16 19:00-21:30h The Hague Wijnhaven 217
Nov 20 19:00-21:30h The Hague Wijnhaven 217
Dec 4 19:00-21:30h The Hague Wijnhaven 217
Dec 14 13:00-17:00h Leiden PDCL 1A20


Registration via personal study plan.

Contract information

If you have any questions, please contact Bart Barendregt.