I’ve given a number of public lectures that explore the themes associated with Computing: The Human Experience; you can watch them here.
Don’t Fear Superintelligent AI
New tech spawns new anxieties, but we don’t need to be afraid of an all-powerful, unfeeling AI. Our worst science fiction induced fears about superintelligent computers are an unnecessary distraction: in the fullness of time we’ll teach – not program – them to share our human values. Rather than worry about an unlikely existential threat, consider how artificial intelligence will enhance human life.
Woven On The Loom Of Sorrow
Explore the tangled web that connects both computing and conflict. How would computing have evolved without war as a clear and present force upon it? How will nations adjust to the ways in which computing has radically altered the very nature of warfare? “Woven on the Loom of Sorrow” investigates this rich yet tragic connection between computing and conflict and considers implications for the future of war.
I’m Sorry, Dave
“The limits of the possible,” said Arthur C. Clarke, “can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible.” We explore how we take our dreams of computing machines that do the impossible and turn them into the possible, with a consideration for the limits we must overcome, from the laws of physics to the principles of design to the constraints of our very human ethical and moral frameworks.
Anarchy And Order
Governments have used technology to tax their citizens, to protect their borders and their economic interests, to communicate and shape opinion, and to monitor their activities. Computing has the potential to advance the care of human life and happiness, but how do we balance this against the tyranny and subterfuge that this same technology makes possible to our governments?
Deus Ex Machina
Different faith traditions have reacted to and in some ways contributed to the advance of computing. From Pope Benedict’s blessing via Twitter to the growth of the Digital Sabbath movement, from the technology-driven exegesis of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the rise of the virtual church, computing has impacted the ways we believe and the means by which some make their faith manifest.
The History (And The Future) Of Software
Software is the invisible writing that whispers the stories of possibility to our hardware, and we are the storytellers. Come on a journey that explores the evolution of software, from the time when computers were human to the present, where we now live in a veritable sea of software, an enchanted world of our own making. And yet, even now, the process and tools of software are undergoing change.
I Think, Therefore I Am
Intelligent computers are projections of what we both dream and what we fear. We examine what it means to be intelligent, and take a journey through the past and future approaches to building sentient systems. We are compelled to consider the question of what it means to be human: producing even the illusion of the mind raises profound questions as to their personhood and our relationship to these machines.