It’s no secret that artificial intelligence is growing more commonplace in our daily lives, from Netflix’s ‘top picks’ recommendations to digital assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.
But the technology prompts questions. Are humans changed by the presence of sentient technologies? Will AI take over the world? Will humans and robots eventually fall in love? Should machines even think?
Thoughts from ‘Westworld’
Scholars, writers and film producers will explore those questions and others related to the development of artificial intelligence during Beyond Human: Emotion and AI, a free panel discussion planned at Chapman University on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall.
Among the panelists will be Lisa Joy, co-creator, co-showrunner and executive producer of the HBO hit series Westworld, a science-fiction thriller series populated by robots and humans.
The panel will discuss how humanity is handling the psychological, philosophical and spiritual impacts of artificial intelligence on contemporary life. It’s an especially vital topic for the humanities, says Patrick Fuery, Ph.D., dean of Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, which is hosting the event as part of its 2018 Interstices programming.
‘What it is to be human’
“AI has been simultaneously described as the biggest development and direst threat to humans. As we edge nearer to a world where AI becomes fully integrated into our lives, our relationship to it has become more complex. Many see the time we live in as the crucial moment for humanity and its AI future. The Interstices panel will take up an interdisciplinary approach to explore what it is to be human in the digital age — and if you really should turn off Alexa,” Fuery says.
Leading up to the panel discussion, a live taping of Ask Science Mike, a weekly Q&A podcast about science, life and faith, with podcaster and bestselling author Mike McHargue, is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall.
The ‘Positronic Man’ book club
In addition, an Interstices book club will read and discuss Isaac Asimov’s and Robert Silverberg’s Positronic Man and will meet on Thursday, Feb. 1, at noon and Thursday, Feb. 8, at 5 p.m. at the Leatherby Libraries. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of this novel, the meetings will explore the work of these seminal science fiction writers as well as examine the relationships between robots and humans.
Chapman’s Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is sponsor of the Interstices programming events, all of which are free and open to the public.
For more information, please visit the Interstices 2018: Beyond Human website.