Poverty, development, citizenship, social cohesion, nationalism and so on are timeless and pertinent aspects and issues of our society that are relevant to all disciplines.

LSE100 will run a single module during the 2019/20 academic year. This module will be taken during the Michaelmas Term (MT) by second year students and during the Lent Term (LT) by first year students. The module is as follows: 

Can we control AI? | A case study of systems thinking

Module overview

Rapid technological advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) are augmenting our ability to solve previously intractable problems, fundamentally changing society in ways that are both thrilling and terrifying. The same tools which could tackle social problems, automate burdensome tasks, and optimize systems can be used to threaten freedom, physical safety, and economic security of people worldwide. Will AI transform society for the better, or will it simply reinforce existing systems and relationships, further embedding biases, inequalities, and structures of power? Who decides? Can we harness the power of AI for good?

In this module, we will explore the ways in which social systems could be transformed by technological change. Using 'systems thinking' tools for directing change, we will analyse the impact of AI on systems such as transportation, the labour market, criminal justice, and global security. In the process, you will gain expertise in the tools of systems thinking, and continue to broaden your intellectual experience and deepen your critical understanding of your own discipline as you test theories, evidence and ideas from different disciplinary perspectives. You will also develop your research, communication, teamwork and leadership skills as you apply your intellect and creativity to the challenge of directing technological change. 

Key concepts:

  • Systems thinking
  • Systems change
  • Machine learning
  • Algorithmic bias
  • Discriminatory design
  • Dual-use technology
  • Privacy
  • Automated decision-making
  • Automation
  • Algorithmic bias
  • Black box problem


Office hours

Your teacher holds office hours throughout the term so that you can talk about any aspect of your work for LSE100. You can view the office hours for all LSE100 teachers here and on Moodle.

LSE100 Course Office

Room: KSW.4.10 (20 Kingsway)
Telephone: 020 7107 5361
Twitter: @TheLSECourse
Director of LSE100: Dr Jessica Templeton