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Artificial Intelligence: The Risks Could Outweigh the Rewards

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  • What Is Artificial Intelligence?

    Clip: James Hughes, Jaron Lanier, and Andrew Keen try to zero in on a definition of what artificial intelligence really is.

  • Who Benefits from Google?

    Clip: Martine Rothblatt and Andrew Keen debate whether Google's search algorithm can be defined as artificial intelligence.

  • Artificial Intelligence, Faith, and Consciousness

    Clip: Jaron Lanier worries that tech companies will make the rules of what counts as a conscious intelligence, and James Hughes argues it is a matter of law and public policy.

  • Why We Shouldn't Trust the Promise of AI

    Andrew Keen, author of "The Internet Is Not the Answer," and Jaron Lanier, author of "Who Owns the Future?" argue FOR the motion "Don't Trust the Promise of Artificial Intelligence."

  • Why We Should Trust the Promise of AI

    James Hughes, Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and Martine Rothblatt, transhumanist and author of Virtually Human argue AGAINST the motion "Don't Trust the Promise of Artificial Intelligence."

Debate Details

As technology rapidly progresses, some proponents of artificial intelligence believe that it will help solve complex social challenges and offer immortality via virtual humans. But AI’s critics are sounding the alarm, going so far as to call its development an “existential threat” to mankind. Is this the stuff of science fiction? Could the “Terminator” become reality, or will these fears prevent the next technological revolution?

The Debaters

For the motion

Jaron Lanier

Computer Scientist & Author, Who Owns the Future?

Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, author, and composer, best known for his work in virtual reality research, a term he coined and popularized... Read More

Andrew Keen

Internet Entrepreneur & Author, The Internet Is Not the Answer

Andrew Keen is an Internet entrepreneur and the author of three books: The Internet Is Not the Answer (2015), Digital Vertigo: How Today’s Social... Read More

Against the motion

James Hughes

Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

James Hughes, PhD, is the executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. A bioethicist and sociologist, he serves as the... Read More

Martine Rothblatt

Transhumanist, Entrepreneur & Author, Virtually Human

Martine Rothblatt is the chairman and CEO of United Therapeutics, a biotechnology company, and the author of Virtually Human: The Promise – and Peril... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • AI threatens to fundamentally alter the human way of life and should not be developed without adequate planning and foresight.
  • To say that algorithms can mimic consciousness is to devalue what it means to be human.
  • Cheap AI labor may replace human labor and deepen the economic inequality between business owners and human laborers.
  • A self-aware and self-evolving machine could challenge humans for critical resources.
Against The Motion
  • Fear of the unknown should not prevent the next wave of the technological and human progress.
  • AI is a potentially life-saving tool that can help cure disease and eradicate human-to-human warfare.
  • If precautions and regulations are put in place, "human friendly" AI can be developed to serve humans rather than threaten them.
  • AI technology can preserve the minds of our loved ones as well as society's greatest intellectuals and leaders.

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The Research

The Research

The Myth of AI

February 19, 2016

The biggest threat of AI is probably the one that's due to AI not actually existing, to the idea being a fraud, or at least such a poorly constructed idea that it's phony. In other words, if AI was a real thing, then it probably would be less of a threat to us than it is as a fake thing.

Learning Technologies 2012 - Jaron Lanier - The rise of post-human machine intelligence?

April 30, 2012

In this video, Lanier discusses the impact of today's digital technologies and how they are not all they appear to be.

The First Church of Robotics

August 9, 2010

By allowing artificial intelligence to reshape our concept of personhood, we are leaving ourselves open to the flipside: we think of people more and more as computers, just as we think of computers as people.

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