Course Details

Course Number: 90-850

Societal Consequences of Tech Change: Autonomous Vehicle Tech & City Planning

Units: 3

This "micro class" is a deep-dive into the impact of rapidly developing autonomous vehicle technology and the consequences for the way cities look and work. Students will be exposed to the research, development and deployment of vehicle technology happening right here at CMU. They’ll apply that understanding to developing scenarios of what the impact on the City of Pittsburgh may be, with particular emphasis on the major employment center of the region, i.e. the City’s Central Business District (i.e. downtown.)

In addition to gaining an appreciation of the technology in developing future scenarios, students will have to explore the way urban space is used (e.g. parking) and may be reused; how work changes with new technology; and how transportation modal mix and residential location may change. Students will be expected to explore interventions that could change the direction of potential impacts of their various scenarios. As part of the experience, students will be challenged to apply the skills they are learning in their courses, and will experience facilitation techniques they are likely to find useful in their own careers whatever field they ultimately pursue.

The course will meet for two fun and intense days - November 18 and 19, 2017. The majority of the grade for the based on participation (including peer feedback and self-reflection) and assignments completed during the two days. There will be some pre-work leading up to the two-day and then ten days afterwards to bring closure to the experience.

About the Societal Consequences Series

This “micro class” is part of a periodic series at Heinz to explore the affect of technological change on the human condition, and the role Heinz students will play in shaping this future. Some say we are in the midst of the “fourth industrial revolution”, characterized by a “fusion of technologies” “blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” In many arenas, technology is outpacing societal readiness and it is unclear how the human condition will be affected.

Heinz College students are well-positioned to help society capitalize on the potential of this revolution - managing change, understanding its implications, more fairly distributing its benefits, and anticipating its unintended consequences.

To help Heinz students develop these skills, Societal Consequences of Technological Change experiences are periodic “micro classes” that complement the Heinz curriculum by:

1. Exposing students to some of the biggest ideas for how technology enabled breakthroughs could transform various sectors;
2. Challenging students to anticipate and improve how the human condition might be affected; and
3. Practicing problem solving and facilitation techniques that can be used to achieve progress in real management settings.

The Societal Consequences series seeks to leverage policy and management expertise from Heinz College, effective teaching practices supported by the Eberly Center, facilitation techniques and practices from the School of Design, and knowledge of the science of learning from the Simon Initiative to bring these challenging and relevant experiences to Heinz students.

Richard A. Stafford