Summer Reading and Media

The summer reading program has been a staple of engaged learning at Michigan Tech for 18 years. This year we are expanding it to include additional engagement opportunities through choice of different media choices. This includes a partially curated list of other media sources that share similar themes. You are encouraged to read Klara and the Sun by Ishiguro and critically review your choices of supporting and optional material. Many of your first semester courses plan on integrating this reading into your learning experiences. These courses include the first semester of engineering, computer science, social science, and several composition sections. Don’t forget to utilize the study guide as read the book and watch your choice of movies and tv shows.  Use the Study Guide below to help you digest the material and be sure to keep it handy during orientation and the first semester as planned events will refer back to this material (hint, think about using a google doc to house your reflections). All students are encouraged to participate.

What are you expected to do? Homework in the summer?!?!  No, enjoy your summer and in your “down-time” think about reading the book, perhaps watch a movie or two, and take some notes with help of the study guide – that’s it!  This should be fun, enjoyable, and relaxing.


Study Guide for FYE Robot101

Having read and/or watched a number of the media on the above list about robots, AI, and relationships, the following questions come to mind.  Consider some of these and …

  1. Do/should robots have rights?
  2. Do robots have souls?
  3. Can a robot (AI) demonstrate curiosity the way Klara seems to have, or are we misperceiving it? And if so, what is the algorithm that looks like curiosity?
  4. What are robots good at and what are they bad at in fiction? Give examples from our suggested texts and/or films. Is it any different with real-life robots?
  5. What do robots owe human and what do humans owe robots?
  6. Are interactions with robots beneficial or detrimental to our own sense of humanity?

Primary Texts: Read/Listen

  • Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the sun (2021)
  • This will be a supplemental textbook for Engineering 1101, Computer Science 1000, Social Science 1001, Humanities 2600, and several of your 1st year composition sections – so get a head start!

Supporting Movies  (Watch (re-watch) with study guide in hand)  

Supporting Television Episodes


What is going on at Tech

Optional and Supporting Texts

Classic Movies

  • Metropolis (1926)
  • Forbidden Planet (1956) vs. Lost in Space (1965-68) vs. Lost in Space (2018-21) – robots as servant and protector
  • Westworld (1973) vs. Westworld (2016–)
  • Blade Runner (1982)
  • Ghost in the Shell (1995 and sequels)


This is a simple program to help everyone build a common starting point. If you still have questions please email  Have a great summer and see you in the fall!