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Artificial Creatures


Admission requirements

Bachelor degree (completed)


Intelligent robots are all the rage nowadays, but what about emotional robots? And creative robots? Or even useless, curious, helpless or misbehaving robots? Does researching these bots with 'unique' human or lifelike qualities make us less or more human? And why should we care?

In this course we discuss inspirational examples demonstrating that bots can be more than just smart, and argue that by studying bots like you we can learn more about who we are as humans, and speculate about our joint future.

At the end of the course you will focus on a particular human or creaturelike quality, and make this experienceable through an artificial creature that you will build yourself.

Course objectives

This course enables you to practice a form of philosophy-by-doing. Stepping away from technology, we will reflect on specific qualities that make us human, one at a time, and you will learn about various ways artists, researchers and inventors have used automatons, robots and other artificial creatures to express this particular quality.

You will then apply this methodology on a human quality and creature of your own choice. You will need to pick one quality (and one quality only), and construct a creature that maximizes the immediate experience of this quality with the minimal technical means possible. The creature should also trigger further thoughts in the audience on what makes us human, or our future with technology.

This methodology has broader use than just artificial creatures.


Date, time and location of this course is included in the Media Technology calendar.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures / Seminars

  • Practical project: build your own creature plus documentation

Assessment method

The course will be assessed on the basis of the final practical project (build your own creature) plus online documentation. Full attendance of lectures required for PASS, exceptions are discretionary to the lecturer.

Reading list

No books or syllabi need to be purchased for this course. Reading materials will be provided by the instructor at the start of the course. We will also leverage the Bots Like You web site.


  • You have to sign up for courses and exams (including retakes) in uSis.

  • Due to limited capacity, non-Media Technology students (elective, external and exchange) can only register after approval of the programme coordinator/study advisor Barbara Visscher-van Grinsven MA.

  • Students who have not yet completed their bachelor degree cannot be admitted to Media Technology courses.


Media Technology MSc programme coordinator/study advisor: Barbara Visscher-van Grinsven MA