Ethical Conundrums, Government Regulation, and the Future of AI with Toby Walsh

Today, we’re chatting with AI expert, activist, and author Toby Walsh. Toby is a leading researcher in Artificial Intelligence.

Dubbed a “rock star” of Australia’s digital revolution by The Australian newspaper, Toby certainly has the backing of a long list of credentials to warrant the title. He is Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at UNSW, leads the Algorithmic Decision Theory group at Data61, Australia’s Centre of Excellence for ICT Research, and is Guest Professor at TU Berlin.

He has been elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and has won the prestigious Humboldt research award as well as the NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Engineering and ICT. He has previously held research positions in England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Sweden.

During the discussion, Toby opens with his thoughts on the future of AI, when and how it could surpass humans, and how little we know about how it could impact our jobs. He also discusses with us other ways AI can impact society for better or for worse. How can our data privacy impact AI and how can microtargeting using this data change the course of history? What ethics should we stand by? Who is responsible for decisions made by autonomous machines? And could government regulation actually help—rather than hinder—innovation?

  • Insight into Toby’s most recent book, “2062: The World That AI Made”, touted as the book to read, bar none, on AI and society.
  • Will AI have consciousness? Is consciousness a biological construct?
  • AI’s impact on jobs. Will more jobs be displaced than created? Could AI lead to the second Renaissance when people focus on what’s truly important?
  • Which fictional future will AI lead us most closely to? Blade Runner, A Space Odyssey, Altered Carbon, The Jetsons, etc.?
  • How did Toby become involved in AI? How did he become an activist?
  • Which legal and ethical issues do we need to look at surrounding AI? AI is being used to target suspicious people for criminal surveillance. Bosses are now sometimes algorithms such as is the case with Uber.
  • Should we regulate data monopolies? What is happening to our data privacy and how is it used to manipulate us? Cambridge Analytica and Facebook accused of involvement in manipulating elections through microtargeting using collected personal data.
  • What is the regulatory landscape in Australia? How has it been impacted by GDPR? How has data been used illegally to discriminate based on race, gender, and other similar factors?
  • What is the potential impact of government regulation on automation in travel? How could the safety of transportation increase through regulated data sharing in automated cars and planes?
  • What are the advantages of machines over humans? How will global learning change humanity?
  • Do we want humans to be manipulated to such an extreme degree? Can humans be hacked?  Should we regulate weapons of mass persuasion?
  • How did AlphaGo create a ”Sputnik Moment” for AI? What impacts has it had? Is robotic soccer Australia’s “Sputnik Moment” in AI?
EPISODE RESOURCES

2062: The World That AI Made” on Amazon on Kindle and in paperback

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