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How should society prepare for advances in Artificial Intelligence? WANAKA

Friday 4 August
150th Anniversary Regional Lecture

Royal Society Te Apārangi 150th Anniversary Regional Lectures - Future Focussed Local Experts

With Professor Richard Bedford, President of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, on the significance of the Society’s 150 years of Discovery.

This event is presented in association with Wanaka Branch of Royal Society Te Apārangi.


How should society prepare for advances in Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is becoming increasingly useful, and increasingly powerful. In the media there has been a spate of recent reports about intelligent machines with new abilities: driverless cars, healthcare robots, conversational agents, and so on. There has always been a debate within AI about how these technologies will impact on society when they are mature. This debate is now extending into mainstream public discourse: the social impacts of AI are now being seriously discussed by economists, lawyers and politicians.

If AI technologies have the potential to dramatically change aspects of our society, how should we respond to this potential? Associate Professor Alistair Knott argues that we need new interdisciplinary structures to coordinate a response. We need AI technologists to have some training beyond computer science, that gives them some understanding of how technologies affect communities; and we need political and legal administrators to have some understanding of AI technologies, so they can make informed decisions about how to regulate them.

About the speaker:

alistair knott

Alistair Knott is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science department at the University of Otago. He studied Psychology and Philosophy at Oxford University, then took a MSc and PhD in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh. He is an expert on human language modelling, and has published over 90 papers in this area. He has given many talks on his research, including talks at TEDx Auckland (2012) and TEDx Athens (2013). He is currently working on a two-year contract with Soul Machines, an Auckland-based AI company founded last year.

Alistair has been interested in the ethical and social implications of AI throughout his career. In January 2016 co-founded the AI and Society discussion group at Otago. He is currently coordinating a project funded by the New Zealand Law Foundation on 'AI and Law in New Zealand', together with Colin Gavaghan (Law, Otago) and James Maclaurin (Philosophy, Otago).


PUBLIC EVENT – $5 door charge

Views expressed at this event may not reflect those of Royal Society Te Apārangi


Royal Society Te Apārangi


Upper Clutha Presbyterian Church 91 Tenby Street, Wanaka, Otago 9305

6:00pm Fri 4 August, 2017 - 7:30pm Fri 4 August, 2017