Vivian Weil Lecture

Vivian Weil

On March 1st, The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions is sponsoring the first Vivian Weil Memorial Lecture. The lecture will feature Dr. Eleonore Pauwels of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. The title of the talk is “Artificial Intelligence and Converging Technologies: Promises and Perils in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”

Artificial intelligence (AI) is on the verge of invading every major industry. It will ensure our cities run efficiently and our every desire is met. In the lab, AI systems already help decipher the secrets inside our genomes. In its narrow intelligent form, AI is also enhancing our cars, smartphones, search engines, and personal assistants; on the sidewalks, assisting in city surveillance, traffic monitoring, and predictive policing – the list is extensive and growing.

Yet, AI technologies won’t just be geared towards individual consumers. Governments and military forces will reap significant benefits from the proliferation of AI to connect information superiority with economic and military power. Following its doctrine of civil-military fusion, China is becoming an early-adopter of AI surveillance technologies both within cyber-warfare intelligence circles and within its “city brain.” Surveillance will also reach the workplace as a US-based company has already implanted some employees with radio frequency identification (RFID) microchips.

Pauwels’ talk provides a deep dive into the privacy and security issues, the ethical and legal quandaries, raised by our virtual intelligent futures. AI could revolutionize how humanity copes with complex socio-technical problems, from decoding our genomes to optimizing our cities, transforming human experience for the better. But the technology could also radically alter our notions of privacy and offer corporations, hackers, or governments new ways to exploit, manipulate, and oppress people.