Artificial Intelligence is Here: For Good or Ill - Oxford Literary Festival

Thu 21 Mar 2024, 18:00 - 19:15

Portrait of Professor David Runciman FBA
Oxford Martin School: Lecture Theatre

This event is part of the Oxford Literary Festival

Expert on professions and technology Professor Richard Susskind, public policy leader Verity Harding and politics lecturer and writer Professor David Runciman FBA explore some of the ethical and political issues raised by increasingly powerful artificial intelligence.

Machines are becoming ever more sophisticated, outperforming humans in innumerable ways. Arguably, machines may one day even be able to think and feel. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has inspired countless stories, from films like Ex Machina and Terminator to the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? AI also raises many ethical questions, such as our moral responsibilities to our creations, their military use, our relationships with them (such as grief bots mimicking lost loved ones, sex bots, and more) and the potential threats AI poses to us, including its online use in data harvesting and invading our privacy.

Susskind works on the intersection of the professions and technology and is President of the Society for Computers and Law. He co-developed the world’s first commercial AI system for lawyers and acts as an independent adviser to international professional firms and national governments. His books include The Future of the Professions, with Daniel Susskind, and Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future.

Harding is Director of the AI and Geopolitics Project at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy and co-lead of Ethics and Society at DeepMind, an AI research lab. Harding has been actively engaged in shaping the discourse around responsible AI deployment, privacy concerns, and the broader ethical considerations associated with technological advancements. Her debut book is AI Needs You.

Runciman is Professor of Politics at the University of Cambridge. His recent book, Confronting Leviathan: A History of Ideas, was described as ‘bracingly intelligent’. His latest is The Handover: How we Gave Control of our Lives to Corporations, States and AIs. Runciman is a fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature.

Discussions are chaired by Dr Stephen Law, a philosopher and academic, author of bestselling introductions to philosophy for adults and children, editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy Journal Think, and the festival’s major projects director.

Speakers: Professor Richard Susskind, Professor Verity Harding and Professor David Runciman FBA

Chair: Dr Stephen Law

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