COML 1106

COML 1106

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2023-2024.

In 2015, Japan's SoftBank Robotics Corporation announced the world's first robot with feelings. Many people were excited, many more disturbed. If robots are simply, as the dictionary suggests, machines "designed to function in the place of a living agent," then what is so disturbing about them? Since robots are designed to replace human labor (first economic, and now also emotional), do they represent a threat as much as they do an aid? What happens when robots exceed their purpose, and become more humanlike? How do robots read, write, and feel? How do the activities of coding and writing, or decoding and reading differ? Students will be equipped with the vocabulary and writing strategies to rigorously analyze, compare, and debate the meaning of robots in the human imagination from different epochs, countries, languages, and media. In doing so, they will write in a variety of registers about works such as the play R.U.R. by Karel Čapek, who invented the term "robot". Other materials may include philosophical texts, fiction, videogames, films, graphic novels, and hip-hop concept albums.

When Offered Fall, Spring.

Satisfies Requirement First-Year Writing Seminar.

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Syllabi: none
  •   FWS Session. 

  • 3 Credits Graded

  • 19057 COML 1106   SEM 101

  • Instruction Mode: In Person
    For more information about First-Year Writing Seminars, see the Knight Institute website at