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


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Today, we’re chatting with AI expert, activist, and author Toby Walsh. Toby is a professor of artificial intelligence at the University of New South Wales and Data61 with an educational background from the University of Cambridge and University of Edinburgh in mathematics, theoretical physics, and artificial intelligence. He has also been Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research and has chaired multiple AI conferences.

As an activist, Toby helped in the release of an open letter which gained over 20,000 signatures that called for a ban on offensive autonomous weapons. Toby is also the author of multiple books on artificial intelligence, the most recent of which is “2062: The World That AI Made” which we will discuss today.

Dr Walsh opens 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. Toby 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?

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17 episodes