Changing How the World Thinks

An online magazine of big ideas

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Issue 69: AI

Should we embrace AI or worry about it?

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Should we be scared of robots overtaking us, or should we embrace AI as an opportunity to make our lives better and work more efficient? As AI’s impact on our life is inevitably transforming our world, in this month’s issue we are looking at how algorithms force us rethink basic notions such as the mind or intelligence, and economic and political structures such as the workplace, and the judiciary system.

We interviewed Andy Clark – the philosopher famous for his ‘Extended Mind’ theory, and who is looking forward to becoming a cyborg. 

On the one hand, we have John Collins, disruptive technologist at Imperial College’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre in Synthetic Biology, argue that we shouldn’t be scared of AI because there are no armies of bots coming to replace us. Instead, he writes that AI is simply statistics, of which we are in charge. 

On the other hand, algorithms are not as objective as we might think, argues the Research director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media Carl Miller. Find out how they are re-shaping the judiciary in his article When A Robot Becomes Judge. 

Can robots make good judgments without taking emotions into account? Manchester University philosophers Joel Smith and Lydia Farina investigate whether cool judgment is good judgment and what this means for AI.

If you’re in search of an optimistic vision, the author of Meaningful Work and Workplace Democracy and Oxford’s research fellow, Ruth Yeoman, offers just that. In her eyes, AI can serve as an opportunity to make our lives more meaningful and our societies – more democratic.

At the end of the day, it seems like the power is within our hands. And that is both comforting and scary.

And finally, to spice things up, we republish an article where Kate Devlin, Senior Lecturer at Goldsmith’s Department of Computing and author of Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots, puts forward the case that we should drop the humanoid forms for sex robots and reimagine what they can be and look like.

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