Is artificial intelligence an existential threat to humanity? On May 13th, Dr. Joanna Bryson will be delivering a lecture at the Oxford Martin School discussing the notion of an intelligence explosion.

In this talk she will argue that what Dewey, Goertzel and others have described as an intelligence explosion is an accurate description of the impact the socio-technical system of humanity and its culture has had on this planet since the dawn of writing – arguably the first form of AI. This pattern is accelerating with new communication and computation technology creating an ever-more powerful and dynamic system. Nevertheless, she argues that understanding this system may be within the capacity (and the remit) of theoretical biology.

She will then move to a discussion of our capacity to control the system, via altering the moral agents that compose it – that is, by providing useful abstractions to the general population and/or policy makers. The EPSRC Principles of Robotics (possibly the only national-level general-purpose AI ethics policy statement, although presently completely non-binding) calls this process “transparency” and mandates it. Expected points of discussion:

  1. whether referencing “the” singularity as being a future rather than a past event benefits transparency,
  2. whether there are other things we can do to make AI more transparent, and
  3. whether there is a way to test or model the impact of measures to increase transparency, both for their effectiveness in education and their impact on containing or even exploiting the present explosion.

This lecture will be followed by a drinks reception, all welcome.  For more information, please see here.

Dr Joanna J. Bryson is a Reader in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bath. She is an Associate Editor for Adaptive Behavior and on the Editorial Boards of the International Journal of Synthetic Emotions(IJSE), the Journal of Mind TheoryConnection Science and AI & Society.

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