Will we control artificial intelligence or will it control us?


Skip Derra

Like any new technology, artificial intelligence holds great promise to help humans shape their future, and it is also holds great danger in that it could eventually lead to the rise of machines over humanity, according to some futurists. So which course will it be for AI and what can be done now to help shape its trajectory? 

These are some of the questions and issues that will be explored by the Origins Project at Arizona State University in the “Great Debate: The Future of Artificial Intelligence – Who’s in Control?” It will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 25, in the Gammage Auditorium on the Tempe campus. 

“The purpose of this event is not to generate fear of the future, because AI can be a marvelous boon for humankind,” said Lawrence Krauss, director of the Origins Project. “But fortune favors the prepared mind, and looking realistically at where AI is now and where it might go is part of this. The evening will be provocative and fascinating.”

Joining Krauss on stage will be Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft’s Redmond Lab. Horvitz is a computer scientist and technical fellow at Microsoft. His research covers the theoretical and practical challenges of machine learning and inference, human-computer interaction, AI and more.

Also joining Krauss will be Jaan Tallinn, co-founder of Skype. Tallinn is an Estonian programmer, investor and physicist. He is partner and co-founder of the development company Bluemoon, a Board of Sponsors member of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and one of the founders of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and the Future of Life Institute. Tallinn strongly promotes the study of existential risk and AI, and the long-term planning and mitigation of potential challenges.

“Anyone who has an interest in AI, its future, and the future of humanity will want to hear what these panelists have to say,” Krauss added.

Tickets for the "Great Debate: The Future of Artificial Intelligence – Who’s in Control" range from $12 to $45. They can be found on line through Tickemaster.com and at the ASU Gammage Box Office, 480-965-3434. ASU students can obtain free tickets (two tickets per student ID to be picked up the Gammage box office) for this event.