The Promise and Perils of Artificial Intelligence: With Susan Schneider and Stuart Russell

Join AI authors and experts Susan Schneider and Stuart Russell in conversation exploring artificial intelligence with Mechanics' Institute, Goethe-Institut, and Gray Area.

Susan Schneider, Author of Artificial You
Stuart Russell, AI researcher

RSVP to join online via Zoom
April 29, 2020
5pm PST

Dr. Susan Schneider is the NASA/Blumberg Chair at NASA and the Library of Congress and the director of the "AI, Mind and Society Group" at the University of Connecticut. She writes about the fundamental nature of the self and mind, especially from the vantage point of issues in philosophy, artificial intelligence, cognitive science and astrobiology. Her work has been explored on television shows on PBS, The History Channel, Fox and the National Geographic Channel, and has been featured by The New York Times, Science, Nautilus, Smithsonian, Scientific American and more. Her book “Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind”, published in 2019, is a philosophical exploration of AI. From driverless cars to neural netting, AI is infiltrating our lives at every level, raising questions of consciousness and selfhood that have resounding implications for the future of humanity. Susan Schneider examines these and other pressing philosophical questions. Interspersing provocative thought experiments – like shopping for an AI mind in the “Center for Mind Design” - Schneider proposes concrete ways to test for machine consciousness, questions whether consciousness is an unavoidable byproduct of sophisticated intelligence, and considers the risks and promises of creating machine minds.

Stuart Russell is a professor of Computer Science and holder of the Smith-Zadeh Chair in Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He has served as the Vice-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on AI and Robotics and as an advisor to the United Nations on arms control. He is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the author (with Peter Norvig) of the definitive and universally acclaimed textbook on AI, "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach". His newest book “Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control” was published in 2019. There he writes about the popular imagination, in which superhuman artificial intelligence is an approaching tidal wave that threatens not just jobs and human relationships, but civilization itself. Conflict between humans and machines is seen as inevitable and its outcome all too predictable. Russell argues that this scenario can be avoided, but only if we rethink AI from the ground up. We can rebuild AI on a new foundation, according to which machines are designed to be inherently uncertain about the human preferences they are required to satisfy. Such machines would be humble, altruistic, and committed to pursue our objectives, not theirs. This new foundation would allow us to create machines that are provably deferential and provably beneficial.

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