The Waterloo Chair in Science & Society (Heather Douglas) is co-hosting Wendell Wallach from Yale University on February 9 and 10, 2016. Wendell is currently at the University of Ottawa as the Fulbright Research Chair and will be giving a series of three talks during his visit to Waterloo.
A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond our Control
Most of us perceive technology as a source of both promise and productivity, and yet there is considerable disquiet regarding specific emerging technologies and the overall course of technological development. Indeed, a variety of factors suggest that technological development is slipping beyond human control. These include, but are not limited to, the increasing reliance on complex systems whose activities is difficult to predict or fully control, the accelerating pace of technological innovation accompanied by ineffective lagging oversight, and the plethora of environmental, public health, and other societal challenges arising from individual research trajectories. A technological singularity when artificial intelligence exceeds human intelligence functions as the symbolic, yet speculative, representation of a total loss of human control. Technological unemployment is, however, the more immediate theme that raises concern as to the possible loss of control over our personal lives, and fear over the prospects for our children. Whether human destiny is indeed being surrendered to technological possibilities and economic imperatives, or can just appear to be, are two issues difficult to disentangle. However, this presentation will emphasize what can go wrong as we adopt new technologies and how the risks and harms might be addressed through ethics, engineering, oversight, and governance.
A brief bio of Wendell Wallach
Wendell Wallach Chairs the Technology and Ethics Study Group at the Yale University Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, and also serves as a Senior Advisor to The Hastings Center. His recent book is entitled, A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology From Slipping Beyond Our Control. Together with Colin Allen (Indiana University) he co-authored, Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong. He is presently visiting Fulbright Research Chair at the University of Ottawa.