SingularityU Sydney Summit - AI or Die? Redefining Humanity in the Software Age

Speaker - Alix Rübsaam

While some predict that the rise of Artificial Intelligence will mean the “end of humankind”, others see no future without algorithms and data-driven systems. What sense can we make from these predictions and warnings? This talk unpacks the ways in which current computational systems have impacted our culture and sense of self, explore software as a metaphor for our humanity, and challenge existing ideas about what it means to be human in the digital age.

Superintelligence Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies is a 2014 book by the Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom from the University of Oxford. It argues that if machine brains surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could replace humans as the dominant lifeform on Earth.

AI Poses an Existential Threat to Humanity
  • The intelligence of machines will exceed that of humans
  • Computers will breach the limits of human cognition
  • There will be a hierarchy of intelligence with no humans on top

Divining a Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing
By Paul Dourish and Genevieve Bell 

“Visions of technology reflect the time and space where they originate”

A sociotechnical investigation of ubiquitous computing as a research enterprise and as a lived reality.

Ubiquitous computing (or ubicomp) is the label for a “third wave” of computing technologies. Following the eras of the mainframe computer and the desktop PC, ubicomp is characterized by small and powerful computing devices that are worn, carried, or embedded in the world around us. The ubicomp research agenda originated at Xerox PARC in the late 1980s; these days, some form of that vision is a reality for the millions of users of Internet-enabled phones, GPS devices, wireless networks, and "smart" domestic appliances. In Divining a Digital Future, computer scientist Paul Dourish and cultural anthropologist Genevieve Bell explore the vision that has driven the ubiquitous computing research program and the contemporary practices that have emerged―both the motivating mythology and the everyday messiness of lived experience

Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the authors' collaboration, the book takes seriously the need to understand ubicomp not only technically but also culturally, socially, politically, and economically. Dourish and Bell map the terrain of contemporary ubiquitous computing, in the research community and in daily life; explore dominant narratives in ubicomp around such topics as infrastructure, mobility, privacy, and domesticity; and suggest directions for future investigation, particularly with respect to methodology and conceptual foundations.

In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence
by George Zarkadakis

A timely and important book that explores the history and future, as well as the societal and ethical implications, of Artificial Intelligence as we approach the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution

Zarkadakis explores one of humankind's oldest love-hate relationships―our ties with artificial intelligence, or AI. He traces AI's origins in ancient myth, through literary classics like Frankenstein, to today's sci-fi blockbusters, arguing that a fascination with AI is hardwired into the human psyche. He explains AI's history, technology, and potential; its manifestations in intelligent machines; its connections to neurology and consciousness, as well as―perhaps most tellingly―what AI reveals about us as human beings.

In Our Own Image argues that we are on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution―poised to enter the age of Artificial Intelligence as science fiction becomes science fact. Ultimately, Zarkadakis observes, the fate of AI has profound implications for the future of science and humanity itself.

“Visions of technology reflect the time and space where they originate”
  • Early Judaism | Agriculture | Golem
  • Ancient Greece | Hydraulics | Humors
  • Descartes | Mechanics | Machine
  • Mary Shelley | Electricity | Spark of Life

Most important technology of the 21st Century?

The Information Processing Metaphor - Robert Epstein

E.g. “Humans are hardwired to do this”

“AI is an upgrade to the neocortex”

“You’re just wired differently”

Is it bad if we use the metaphor of computers to describe ourselves?


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