Archive for the ‘AI’ Category

Watch Stephanie Dick’s compelling talk on how the concept of the “human” has changed in artificial intelligence research from the Cold War era to the present. Dr. Dick argues that the early research “sought to explicitly reproduce human faculties in machines.” Today, however, replicating “human” properties is secondary to the pursuit of enhancing the computational and predictive capabilities of AI systems.

Dr. Dick’s lecture, titled, “Making Up Minds: Thinking With, About and For Humans,” was given on April 4th, 2018 at the University of King’s College, Halifax, NS. Her talk was the final lecture in the “Automatons: From Ovid to AI” public lecture series.

Dr. Dick is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

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StephanieDickDr. Stephanie Dick (Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania) is scheduled to give a public lecture this Wednesday, April 4th at 7 pm on the changing notion of “the human” in artificial intelligence research.

Title: Making Up Minds: Thinking With, About and For Humans

Abstract: The notion of the “human” has changed in Artificial Intelligence research. Where “traditional” A.I. sought to explicitly reproduce human faculties in machines, today any resemblance is incidental to the primary goal of making good predictions or solving hard problems.

Time and Place: 7:00 pm, Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 at Alumni Hall, University of King’s College, Halifax.

For more information: Automatons: From Ovid to AI

Steph Dick Poster PRINT-min

 

Un policy brief 1Killer robots. Slaughterbots. Lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS).  How are they changing international norms of warfare, peace and security? What does it mean for us? How concerned should we be?

These questions are the subject of a debate between Dr. Noel Sharkey, professor of A.I. and robotics (Sheffield), renowned BBC commentator on robotics and A.I., and Chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, and Dr. Duncan MacIntosh,  professor of philosophy at Dalhousie University.

When: 7:00 pm, Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Where: The Scotia Bank Auditorium (Sobey Business School building, Saint Mary’s University).

This public event is part of the “Automatons! From Ovid to AI” King’s College lecture series. It is co-sponsored by Saint Mary’s University and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affair.

POSTER War in the Age of Intell Machines A Deabte (Feb 28)

 

 

 

Don’t miss this debate!

Dr. Noel Sharkey, emeritus professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, renowned BBC commentator on robotics and A.I., and the Chair of the “International Committee for Robot Arms Control”, will debate Dalhousie’s Duncan MacIntosh on the nature, ethics and future of “Autonomous Weapons and War in the Age of Intelligent Machines”.

The public event is co-sponsored by Saint Mary’s University and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs and will be taking place in  7:00pm, Wednesday, March 21st.

Dawn talk 3What do puppeteers mean when they speak about bringing a puppet ‘to life’? What is the difference between a prop and a puppet? Why do these questions matter not only in the creative arts but also in the study of how artificial intelligence and automatons are imagined? Dr. Dawn Brandes (Fountain School of Performing Arts and Halifax Humanities) will be exploring these questions in her talk this Wednesday, Feb 28th, 7:00pm at Alumni Hall, King’s College, Halifax. This talk is part of the public lecture series “Automatons: From Ovid to AI.” For information go to: Automatons Lecture Series.

 

Sophia UN 2

Divergent perspectives on recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics were evident at a public lecture hosted last week (Feb 14, 2018) at the University of King’s College (Halifax). The keynote speaker, Stan Matwin, presented a nuanced, but largely optimistic view of where research in AI is heading, and the value that advances like “deep learning” promise for society. Following Dr. Matwin’s talk, Teresa Heffernan offered some critical commentary, emphasizing how deceptive claims were being used to promote initiatives in the industry, feeding on and reinforcing collective fantasies and delusional thoughts about, for example, the “aliveness” of robots.

Deep learning

“Deep learning” process

Dr. Matwin (Dalhousie University, Canada Research Chair in Visual Textual Analytics), summarized the history of AI and characterized advances in the field since the advent of “deep learning.” He explained how “classical” machine learning depended on human labour for the provision of “representations” and “examples” comprising the “knowledge” being imparted to the “artificial” system. In contrast, Dr. Matwin showed, the emerging field of “deep learning” requires human effort in the compilation of “examples” only; the machine “learns” what the examples represent by “finding non-linear relationships between” them. Moreover, according to Dr. Matwin, 2017 saw the development of a self-training chess playing program (AlphaZero) able to learn the game without humans supplying either “representations” or “examples.” Based on the powers exhibited by “deep learning” systems, Dr. Matwin predicted that significant social changes were on the horizon, such as white-collar job loss. Nonetheless he averred that the ubiquity of high-tech machines like smart phones was indicative of the inevitability of technological progress in general, and of the benefits of AI in particular.

Dr. Heffernan, professor of English at Saint Mary’s University and director of the Social Robot Futures Project, introduced her talk by showing a segment from the Tonight Show (Jimmy Fallon) in which the CEO of Hanson Robotics (David Hanson) affirmed that his robot “Sophia” was “basically alive.”

 

Dr. Heffernan then argued that “Sophia” was, in fact, merely a “chatbot” in a robotic body: it functions by reacting to a user’s statements, queries and expressions with prewritten scripts, and/or information gathered from the internet. The user’s spoken statements are transcribed into text that is then matched with automated replies. Dr. Heffernan presented some of the open source code used in programming Sophia’s chatbot capabilities. In sum, she argued with reference to CEO Hanson’s performance on the Tonight Show, that “what you are watching is a showman and an impressive spectacle.”

M-x doctor mode, an Eliza clone running in GNU Emacs (Wikipedia)

Dr. Heffernan explained how the scientist who invented the “chatbot” concept in the 1960s, Joseph Weisenbaum, had since become a critic of the industry. In a famous experiment, he programmed the chatbot “Eliza” with a dialogic model based in psychotherapy — giving rise to the so-called “DOCTOR” script. Weisenbaum noticed that although users fully understood how the DOCTOR-scripted chatbot worked, which was to respond with stock phrases or pick up on the last statement the subject made, they nevertheless divulged intimate personal details and attributed feelings to it. Regarding this phenomenon, Dr. Heffernan quoted Weisenbaum’s own reflections: “What I had not realized is that extremely short exposures to a relatively simple computer program could induce powerful delusional thinking in quite normal people.”  In a documentary called Plug and Pray Weizenbaum expressed his concern about the development of this technology given people’s susceptibility to being manipulated.

Nothwithstanding Weisenbaum’s public statements on these issues, according to Dr. Heffernan, contemporary “marketers of social robots like Sophia, which are now enhanced by faster computer processors and access to big data sets, encourage this delusional thinking instead of exposing it.”

Stan Matwin and Teresa Heffernan

Stan Matwin and Teresa Heffernan, Feb 14, 2018

You can watch Dr. Heffernan’s 15 minute talk, “Concerns About the Artificial Intelligence Industry,” below. More information about the “Automatons” lecture series at King’s College can be found here.

 

By Karen Asp (Feb 23, 2018)

Public lecture on Artificial Intelligence

Posted: February 12, 2018 by keasp1 in AI, Ethics, Events, Science

On Wednesday February 14th, Stan Matwin (Dalhousie University) will give a public lecture on the technical, ethical and philosophical issues associated with artificial intelligence (AI). His talk will be followed by a response from Teresa Heffernan (Saint Mary’s University).

Part of the “Automatons: From Ovid to AI” lecture series, this public event is scheduled for 7:00 pm, February 14th, at Alumni Hall, King’s College, Halifax.

Matwin 5

heffernan-poster-3-1-e1516029997438.jpgNews headlines, government reports, scientific journals, and museums often use fiction to frame discussions of the robotics and artificial intelligence industry, implying a direct trajectory between the fiction and the science. Yet when it comes to real-world policies, the literary imagination is marginalized in discussions of a technological future with the oft-voiced argument that we need to keep the “fiction” out of science. There are all sorts of ways in which fiction and art more generally are mobilized in the service of the robotics/AI industry in order to prove the “creativity” and autonomy of artificial intelligence; what gets shut down, however, is the critical potential of art. Resisting the tendency to read science as fiction coming true, Teresa Heffernan will consider the very different ways science and fiction imagine robots, artificial intelligence, and technological futures.

When/Where: 7:00 PM, January 17 at Alumni Hall, University of King’s College, Halifax.

Information: www.ukings.ca/automatons