Topic outline

  • Critical AI and Data Justice in Society

    Critical AI and Data Justice in Society

    Instructor: Prof. Nitin Sawhney 
    Department of Computer Science, Aalto University
    Teaching Assistants: Henriette Friis and Sid Rao

    Feb 4th to April 8th (10 weeks)
    Thursday 16:15 – 18:00

    Credits: 3 cr (or 5 cr for submitting essay/paper)

    Course website:

    Course Description 

    The course critically examines the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI), autonomous systems, and data-centric technologies in society. We will interrogate these concerns using cross-disciplinary theories and practices embedded in the ethics of AI, intersectional feminist perspectives, Global South and indigenous experiences, as well as civic debates and human rights discourses. The goal is to reveal the socio-political implications for protest, surveillance, democratic participation, misinformation, gender and racial equity, civic engagement and social justice.

    CS-E4001: Research Seminar in Computer Science: Research Projects in Critical AI and Crisis Interrogatives (3 credits), April 22-June 3, 2021. Register on WebOodi (March 22 onwards).

    Course Highlights and Invited Talks:

    Learning Outcomes

    Students will read and co-present articles (in groups) on a weekly basis around topics of interest, with another pair of participants asking questions. Moving from a place of curiosity and reflection, participants will learn to understand and interrogate the implications of emerging technologies and practices in society through the lens of critical theory, ethics, values and civic activism. Through thought-provoking discussions we will re-frame dilemmas and narratives to propose alternative solutions, design/technology interventions, and ethical policies in society. 


    • Participants are expected to co-present one article from a collectively curated reading list, and prepare probing questions to spur discussions of another article.

    • Based on the sessions, presenting students should also share reflections about the topic and questions emerging on the course blog.

    • Participants must participate actively in all sessions (80% attendance is required).

    • For 2 extra credits, participants should prepare an essay or paper related to one or more topics discussed in the seminar individually or co-authored in pairs (by April 15), and peer-review two papers by other participants (by April 20).


    None. Course content will be tailored to students with different backgrounds and levels of experience. We welcome students from different disciplines including science/engineering, business, arts/design, architecture, humanities and social sciences. 

    Online Platforms

    Login as student to see info. for Zoom, Slack and Wordpress or contact us (by filling this form) if you wish to join as a guest.