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AI and the Future of Humanity Project – Conference 1: Who’s afraid of the Super-Machine? AI in Sci-Fi Film and Literature

Join AI experts, SF authors, critics, and researchers from literature, film studies, philosophy, psychology, computer science, neuroscience. This is the first conference in SHDP’s AI and the Future of Humanity Project. We are grateful to Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) for their funding of this project
When Mar 15, 2018 12:00 AM to
Mar 16, 2018 12:00 AM
Where Jesus College, Cambridge
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The term “singularity” was introduced by the science fiction writer Vernor Vinge in a 1983; it was picked up by Ray Kurzweil in his popular 2005 book The Singularity is Near. At many stages we find fiction in all its forms driving ideas in AI and vice-versa. Crucially, we find the relationship between AI developments and our hopes, fears and ambitions, worked out imaginatively through a variety of media. Hence film and literary fictions have been a forum for the drama of ideas that circulate around AI and its future, not least its moral dimension.

What can we learn about ourselves in relation to AI by exploring these narratives? Film studies experts and critics will provide commentaries on Sci-fi movies and tv, and sci-fi writers will read and discuss their own works and their choice of works featuring AI. There are powerful religious themes in the history of sci-fi machine intelligence, such as achievement of immortality, notions of Omega point futures, transhumanism, the prospect of androids outstripping humans in virtue (cf Terminator 2). Discussions around specific texts will give rise to viewpoints on the impact of AI on beliefs and practice. Taking the creative-media approach to AI and its significance for humanity has the potential to attract a wide ambit of younger participants, including teenagers, via online commentary and reports.

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The University of Cambridge’s Trustworthy Technologies Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) catalyses and facilitates multi-disciplinary research on issues relating to society, trust, and computer and internet technologies.

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