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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

IDEA5241M Artificial Intelligence & Data Ethics

15 creditsClass Size: 12

Module manager: Andrew Kirton

Taught: 1 Feb to 30 Apr View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Module replaces

IDEA5240M Professional Issues 2: Privacy and Confidentiality

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

We are living through a technological revolution. Artificial Intelligence systems are poised to take on decision-making roles and perform tasks currently requiring human beings in an increasing range of domains. This shift has been fuelled through the groundwork of massive amounts of personal data being collected, extracted from mobile computing and the general Internet. This module provides students with the analytical and theoretical tools to engage with the ethical questions that this revolution raises.


The module aims:
1. To introduce students to the ethical issues surrounding artificial intelligence and data, and the concepts that underpin these ethical issues.
2. To develop critical awareness of the roles artificial intelligence systems may play in society, including the associated benefits and risks for specific users and society itself.
3. To develop the ability to critically evaluate ethical arguments for and against whether artificial intelligence ought to be deployed, through considering the associated implications for a variety of stakeholders.

The objectives will be fulfilled through:
• Independently working through online teaching units, where students are introduced to core concepts, readings, and arguments and are encouraged to read texts critically and reflect on and analyse these arguments and concepts.
• Online discussion forums and synchronous webinars where students have the opportunity to develop their own arguments on the topics and test these through critical reflection with other learners and academic staff.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes relevant to the subject:
1. Explain the key conceptual and ethical issues surrounding the use of artificial intelligence and data.
2. Explain different conceptual and ethical positions one could take on those issues.
3. Develop your own positions through thoughtful, well-presented and well-justified arguments.
4. Describe and discuss a wide range of debates in the ethics of artificial intelligence.

Skills Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:
5. Communicate ideas and understanding clearly and concisely, using appropriate academic language (Academic and Work Ready skill)
6. Critically analyse source material and demonstrate independence of thought (Academic and Work Ready skill)
7. Search for appropriate material to support knowledge and analysis of topics (Academic, Work Ready, Digital and Sustainability skill)
8. Conform to standards of academic integrity including when and how to appropriately acknowledge someone else’s work (Academic and Work Ready skill)
9. Identify ethical questions and use ethical frameworks when analysing issues and source material (Sustainability skill)
10. Digital communication, collaboration and participation (Digital and Work Ready skill)


This module will explore issues such as:
The ethics of privacy and data
Biases and Block boxes
When it’s permissible to deploy AI
Externalities of AI

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours34.00
Private study hours100.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students are invited to complete one piece of formative work which will receive written feedback. In this module, students are given three options: 750-word exposition of a philosophical argument; 750-word objection and reply; 750-word literature review.
By giving students a choice, this formative assessment takes account of variations in prior knowledge and skill development, and it enables the instructor to respond to students’ individual needs. It also builds students’ academic self-conception and encourages them to take ownership over their intellectual development.
To do this, and to ensure that students get the formative feedback they need, each student is required to select an option after writing a critical reflection on the skills that they judge they most need to work on. They are asked to read and reflect on (i) the feedback they received in previous summative assessments, (ii) the PRHS marking criteria for their upcoming summative assessment, and (iii) the specific guidance provided on the summative assessment in this module. They are then required to submit their chosen formative work accompanied by a 100–300-word reflective log explaining the choice they have made. This exercise builds critical reflection into the module. It requires that students engage with previous feedback, think about current expectations, and take an active role in honing their knowledge and skill development.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayEssay (3000 words)90.00
Group DiscussionContributions to online discussion10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The resit for the discussion contributions will be an essay demonstrating familiarity with a wide range of debates and will be descriptively as opposed to analytically focused.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 01/02/2024


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