Mon, 7 October 2019

6:45 pm - 8:00 pm

How to Understand Our Times: The Future of A.I.

Stuart Russell in conversation with Farhad Manjoo


The Royal Institution

21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS

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Musk, Hawking, Gates: many powerful people fear the rise of super-intelligent machines. But in their circle, only one figure can claim to truly be an expert on the future of A.I.: Professor Stuart Russell.

Creating superior intelligence would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it could also be the last. How can we design artificial intelligence that realises its enormous potential to improve human lives – and does not unleash unintended consequences that could be disastrous for humanity?

Berkeley Professor Stuart Russell has spent more than 40 years at the forefront of A.I. research, and is lauded by the giants of global technology and innovation as the leading expert in the field. His ‘bible’ on A.I. is employed by students and engineers the world over, and his TED Talk on the subject has been viewed over a million times. There is no one in the world better placed to explain the existential risk of intelligent machines to our species – or to lay down a road-map that will ensure a safe, mutually beneficial co-existence between machines and humankind.

In this compelling and accessible conversation with New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo, Professor Russell will explain how we can  ensure that we never lose control of machines more powerful than we are. He will show how we can avert the worst threats by reshaping the foundations of AI to guarantee that machines pursue our objectives, not theirs – a machine that has no overriding interest in self-preservation, that is provably deferential to humans, and makes decisions based on human preferences, not its own.

Speaking directly to anyone with a vested interest in the future of our planet and our species, this unmissable talk will outline the very real dangers of a technology that will be here sooner than we think.

Stuart Russell’s first book for the general reader, Human Compatible: AI and the Problem of Control is published by Allen Lane, 8 October.

“How to Understand Our Times” is a live event series collaboration between The New York Times and How To Academy, bringing together New York Times journalists and leading figures in diverse fields to examine pressing issues in a changing world.

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