LIB 4900: Sociotechnical Analysis of Artificial Intelligence - Prof. Francoeur

Spring 2024

Course Units

  1. Introduction to artificial intelligence (definitions, history, varieties)
  2. Educational aspects (academic integrity, student learning)
  3. Information quality (algorithmic bias, misinformation, disinformation, spam, transparency, hallucination, pollution of info ecosystem)
  4. Economic aspects (corporate control, worker surveillance, job loss, international competition)
  5. Legal aspects (copyright, libel, privacy)
  6. Environmental aspects (carbon footprint)


In-class Activities

  • 20% of your grade
  • Each one counts for 20 points
  • Lowest two activity grades are tossed out (i.e., total grade will be for 10 best grades for these assignments)
  1. Essay about your experience in previous information studies courses. Assigned January 26, due January 29.
  2. Start Glossary assignment with definitions of "artificial intelligence" and "artificial general intelligence." Assigned January 29, due February 2.
  3. One-page essay about your experience testing ChatGPT. Assigned February 5, due February 9.
  4. Video or audio recording explaining how ChatGPT works. Assigned February 9, due February 16.
  5. One-page essay on your values as a college student. Assigned February 16, due February 22.
  6. One-page draft of an AI policy for our class. Assigned February 23, due February 26.
  7. Articles with examples of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation. Assigned March 18, due March 22.
  8. AI system you don't trust yet (which one, why, what would it take to get your trust). Assigned March 25, due April 1.
  9. Cost estimate on new generative AI model. Assigned April 1, due April 5.
  10. Peer feedback on choices for final project occupations. Assigned April 12, due April 15.
  11. Copyright status of your generative AI prompts and outputs. Assigned April 19, due May 3.
  12. 3 Things I learned: Assigned May 3, due May 22.


Research Consultation

  • 5% of your grade
  • Must be completed by May 1 (no credit for appointments held later)
  • Meetings will last 20-30 minutes and can be in person or on Zoom
  • Focus will be on the profession or career that you'll be studying for the presentation project


  • Due May 13 (last class session)
  • 25% of your grade.
  • Slide presentation (may be pre-recorded or done live in class) of no more than 6 minutes in length
  • Your presentation will explain how various kinds of AI are impacting a specific profession that is clearly identified. If your chosen profession is one that is common in a number of different industries or sectors, you're advised to talk about that profession in a more narrowly defined way. For example, if you're interested in teachers, it's advisable to limit your presentation to teachers in just one specific level of the education system (e.g., pre-K, K-12, higher education).
  • You should provide your audience with some introductory info (definition of the profession, statistics on numbers of people in that profession, etc.)
  • Your focus is on how AI is currently impacting a profession. You're not making predictions about the future but documenting what's happening now or recently.
  • Your analysis of the impacts should consider both of these:
    • uses of AI by members of that profession
    • uses of AI by other parts of a company, an industry, a related industry, or sector of society that are affecting the work of those in your chosen profession
  • Remember, AI does not just mean "generative AI" but can also include all the various kinds of technology under the "AI" umbrella (e.g., robotics, self-driving vehicles, chatbots, etc.)
  • Your must address at least three of the main topic areas we covered in the class:
    • education issues (e.g., schools, learning, teaching, pedagogy, training)
    • information quality issues (e.g., info ecosystem, algorithmic bias, model collapse, misinformation, disinformation, malinformation, hallucinations)
    • economics, business, and labor issues (e.g., job loss, viability of AI as a business, costs, corporate capture of AI research, global economic competition, outsourcing of harmful tasks for training and fine-tuning models)
    • legal issues (e.g., copyright, privacy, libel, lawsuits) 
    • environmental issues (carbon footprint, ethics of energy use)
  • In your presentation, you must demonstrate your use of sources in your research by making reference to most of them as you speak.
  • Your final slide must include a list of sources that you used for your research (feel free to put this list on several slides if putting it all on one slide squishes to text too much). You must use at least ten reputable, reliable, and highly relevant sources (these will be reviewed as part of your grade).
  • You must share your presentation file by the start of class on May 13 (slide deck or video recording)


Midterm Exam

Final Exam

  • May 22, 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
  • 20% of your grade.

Your Instructor

Profile Photo
Stephen Francoeur
he / him / his
Newman Library
Room 421
Baruch College
151 E. 25th Street
New York, NY 10010

(646) 312-1620