Archive for July, 2013

Watch “Will Humans Still Be Humans in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Cognitive psychologist Gary Marcus, whom I recently met in New York at the roundtable on sustainable employment and technological change, sent me the following link to a fascinating new PBS video on what “being human” might mean as artificial intelligence technologies (AI) develop further and further. Gary is one of the experts who is interviewed.

Will Humans Still Be Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence?  runs just over 8 minutes. You’ll see some of the latest human-machines, and get a sense of how quickly this world is advancing – or threatening?

As Gary says in the film: “Once somebody develops a good AI program,”it doesn’t just replace one worker. It might replace millions of workers.” And that, he continued, may bring another concern when it comes to our relationship with our notional robot overlords: “What happens if they decide that we’re not useful anymore? I think we do need to think about how to build machines that are ethical. The smarter the machines get, the more important that is.”

Gary writes widely on cognitive development and artificial intelligence. His recent book Guitar Zero  (described as “Jimi Hendrix meets Oliver Sacks”) is on many best seller lists these days, including the New York Times.




My PBS blog .. Should We Fear “The End of Work”?

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Paul Solman’s Making Sen$e blog (on the main PBS network website) has just posted my summary of the fascinating conference I recently attended on Sustainable Employment and Technological Change. (Paul is PBS’s senior economics journalist.)

Should We Fear “The End of Work”?

Almost all the attendees I approached agreed to let me use their comments with their names attached. Under the Chatham House rule – which encourages a candid exchange of idea – no one is identified. (The conference brought together an amazingly diverse group of people.)

We desperately need more of this kind of open dialogue between  people from across the economic landscape – finance, technology, business, academe, labour and society at large.