AI: Where Science meets Science Fiction

6Nov_AI Data Debate

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  • This event has taken place
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Blade Runner, Siri and sexbots

You can watch a live webcast of this event here. Join in the debate by tweeting your questions using #DataDebate.

From Blade Runner, Siri and sexbots, to the writings of Jules Verne, HG Wells and Asimov’s I, Robot, it can feel like the lines between science and science fiction are becoming increasingly blurred.

How far away is modern tech from catching up with visions of the future previously only imagined in science fiction? What are the real and imagined implications of artificial intelligence on society and our everyday lives? Is science fiction a useful lens to view the advances in artificial intelligence through? And are we too prone to view the AI future in dystopian terms?

Panel (updated)

Due to an unexpected change in circumstances we are sorry that Laurie Penny is no longer able to join us. We are however very pleased to welcome Eleanor Penny to the panel.

Timandra Harkness (chair) is a science journalist specialising in data. She presents the BBC Radio 4 series, FutureProofing and Bloomsbury published her book, Big Data: Does Size Matter? in June 2016.

Eleanor Penny is a writer, poet and essayist. She's a senior editor at Novara Media and Online Editor at Red Pepper magazine. Her work focuses on gender, economics, technology and the far right.

Jon Crowcroft is a pioneer in network technology, having developed the theory and practice of routing data across interconnecting computers. He has made pivotal contributions throughout the course of the Internet’s development as a means of mass communication. He is a Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute and Marconi Professor of Networked Systems at the University of Cambridge.

Patrick Gyger is a Swiss historian, writer and curator. From 1999 to 2010, he was the director of Maison d’Ailleurs in Switzerland, a museum housing one of the world’s largest collections of Utopia and Science Fiction. Earlier this year, Gyger curated “Into the Unknown: a Journey through Science Fiction” a major travelling exhibition about science fiction, produced by the Barbican Centre in London.

Kathleen Richardson is a Professor of Ethics and Culture of Robots and AI at De Montfort University. In 2015 she, along with her colleague launched the Campaign Against Sex Robots to draw attention to problematic effects on new technologies on human relations, and their potential impact to create new layers of inequalities between men and women and adults and children.

Dr Blay Whitby is a philosopher and ethicist concerned with the social impact of new and emerging technologies. He is currently a lecturer at The University of Sussex, leading a number of courses including: “Ethical Issues in Computing”, and “Introduction to Cognitive Science”.

The Data Debate event series is a collaboration between the AHRC, The Alan Turing Institute, the British Library, and the ESRC and aims to stimulate discussion on issues surrounding big data, its potential uses, and its implications for society.

Doors 18.00, Debate starts at 18.30 – #DataDebate


Name: AI: Where Science meets Science Fiction
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £5.00
Member: £5.00
Senior 60+: £4.50
Student: £4.00
Registered Unemployed: £4.00
Under 18: £4.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546