Future near, Future far: Surveillance and AI (24 November 2015)

The future will be different. A trivial truism, that conceals our inability to successfully predict much about the times to come.

Our speaker, Dr Stuart Armstrong will look at two futures:

  • Firstly, the very likely and near term rise of universal surveillance, and the great changes (and the great similarities) it could cause.
  • Secondly the very uncertain impact of artificial intelligence, and the far greater transformations it would trail in it’s wake, either starkly terrible or wondrous.

Do you, like many, see ‘AI’ as the rise of a demon that will take us towards a dystopian future? Or perhaps helping people do their jobs better, thereby making our lives easier and our locations safer, making technology more personal and purposeful than ever before?

Dr Stuart Armstrong

Stuart Armstrong started his career in mathematics and medical research, before the Future of Humanity Institute drew him in with its exciting ideas – and ended up making him care.

He has contributed to various projects to address understudied, low-probability, high-impact risks, making contributions to anthropic probability, AI safety, model assessment, expert and prediction accuracy, total surveillance, population ethics, and the far future of humanity.

Since the world hasn’t yet ended, he considers his work a success. He has been working on several methods of analysing the likelihood of certain outcomes and in making decisions under the resulting uncertainty, as well as specific measures for reducing AI risk.

His booklet “Smarter than Us: the rise of machine intelligence” lays out some the challenges in this area, and why it’s an important focus areas.