Generative AI: Applications, Implications, and Governance


Units: 6


We are at the dawn of a new era in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that stands to significantly reshape human experience. AI has now achieved a level of proficiency enabling it to understand and generate language, code, images, and videos, excel in digital tasks, and explore scientific and creative fields, all at a standard that challenges or is on par with human experts.

These advanced intellectual and digital capabilities are powering novel AI user experiences like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Dall-E, Google’s Bard, and various open-source offerings. These innovations are aiding humans in enhancing productivity and creativity in areas such as writing, coding, translating, and conceptual thinking.

Although Generative AI holds the promise of being a transformative tool for humanity, its impact on society will be unpredictable. In this course, students will explore potential societal implications, and learn strategies to mitigate these issues through technology governance and public policy. We will delve into how both governmental bodies and private enterprises are navigating the realm of responsible AI while considering ongoing discussions regarding the alignment of AI with human needs.

This course will provide students with practical exposure to the latest AI technologies that can be used to enhance their personal, educational, and professional endeavors. Students will learn the art of prompt engineering, how to use AI integrated within productivity applications, and strategies to avoid common AI failure points.

*Note: AI tools such as ChatGPT and Bing Chat were used to help me generate themes to cover in this course and to help find readings and generate activities to support this curriculum. ChatGPT was also used to help edit this syllabus for clarity.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explore and utilize generative AI tools, learning hands-on ways to integrate them into daily routines through crafting text prompts for diverse tasks. Students will also learn strategies to avoid hallucinations, ensuring the generated outputs are accurate and reliable.
  2. Discover the art of co-authoring with AI, understanding the advantages and limitations of language models in writing.
  3. Gain a high-level understanding of the science behind generative AI, encompassing how it predicts text sequences and creates images. Students will grasp the fundamentals of AI training, fine-tuning, and inference while staying abreast of current trends in the field.
  4. Delve into the societal ramifications of Generative AI through economic, political, ethical, and business perspectives. Engage in discussions to form opinions and debate the potential unforeseen effects of generative AI on society.
  5. Pose insightful questions to experts and critically assess their viewpoints.
  6. Devise public policy strategies aimed at alleviating the adverse impacts of this technology on society.
  7. Learn the principles of responsible AI governance within organizations, including red teaming and responsible release strategies.
  8. Articulate well-informed recommendations to decision-makers on complex issues, presenting concise and substantiated arguments.

Prerequisites Description

There are no prerequisites for this class. The course is designed for any student to experience the latest AI technology and explore its societal implications. It is ideal for students either on a policy track or technology track.