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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

SOC3144: Security, Society, and Algorithms

This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.

Module Aims

This module has two main aims. The first aim is to provide you with a broad understanding of the nature of artificial intelligence (AI) in the context of security and law enforcement, and the subsequent impact of this on individuals and society. It will look at how these technologies have been utilised by law enforcement and state actors, but will also explore how smaller/unfriendly states, non-state actors, and other groups are adapting to these technologies and utilising them for malicious purposes. Developing your understanding of these issues will involve you learning about the use of AI by police forces to detect and prevent crime, the nature of adversarial AI, how AI is used by extremist groups, the role of AI in modern warfare, building resilience, the governance and ethical issues surrounding AI, and other related subjects. The second aim involves you developing the skills necessary to implement a very basic AI algorithm. These skills will be developed during practical-based lab sessions and will involve you learning the generic programming language Python to a basic level. No prior experience with coding will be necessary as the module will provide you with an introduction to coding and the Python syntax, before going on to show how to use it to build an AI implementation of your choosing.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Demonstrate a strong knowledge of artificial intelligence (AI) in various security and threat contexts.
2. Demonstrate a good level of confidence in using the generic programming language Python to implement a basic AI system.
3. Demonstrate a good understanding of how an AI algorithm actually works and its impact and associated ethical implications.
Discipline-Specific Skills4. Critically reflect on the role and impact of AI within the wider context of society more generally
5. Demonstrate an understanding of the role AI could play in future society and its impact
6. Critically reflect on the content of the module within the broader context of the digitalisation of society
Personal and Key Skills7. Work as part of a group on a joint project
8. Demonstrate written analytical skills by producing an essay and technical report to a deadline
9. Present group-based work in a professional manner