Archive for the ‘Robots’ Category

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Source: US D.O.D. Illustration by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes.

On March 6th news broke that Google was participating in a pilot project with the US military, supplying artificial intelligence capabilities to automate the analysis of drone surveillance footage (see Gizmodo and New York Times). Since then, Google employees have signed a petition opposing their company’s involvement, twelve employees are “resigning in protest,” and “tech workers” in the broader industry have circulated their own petition.

Now, a coalition of academics and researchers has released an “Open Letter” in support of the Google employees and tech workers. The Open Letter, co-authored by professors Peter Asaro (The New School, New York), Lilly Irani (University of California, San Diego) and Lucy Suchman (Lancaster University, UK), begins with the following statement:

As scholars, academics, and researchers who study, teach about, and develop information technology, we write in solidarity with the 3100+ Google employees, joined by other technology workers, who oppose Google’s participation in Project Maven. We wholeheartedly support their demand that Google terminate its contract with the DoD, and that Google and its parent company Alphabet commit not to develop military technologies and not to use the personal data that they collect for military purposes. The extent to which military funding has been a driver of research and development in computing historically should not determine the field’s path going forward. We also urge Google and Alphabet’s executives to join other AI and robotics researchers and technology executives in calling for an international treaty to prohibit autonomous weapon systems.

You can read the entire letter/petition here: Open Letter in Support of Google Employees and Tech Workers.

 


Feature image source: US D.O.D. 2017. “Project Maven to Deploy Computer Algorithms to War Zone by Year’s End.

 

 

Watch Despina Kakoudaki’s fascinating talk on how “artificial people” in fiction and film from Frankenstein through to Ex Machina and Westworld serve as foils for examining our “human” emotions, traumas, rights and identities. Dr. Kakoudaki’s public lecture, titled “Unmaking People: The Politics of Negation from Frankenstein to Westworld,” was delivered on March 29th, 2018 at the University of King’s College, Halifax.

You can also listen to Dr. Kakoudaki talk with Alex Mason, producer of the CBC radio show Mainstreet, in an interview about “what fiction teaches us about our creations, our anxieties and ourselves.”

Dr. Kakoudaki is Professor of Literature and Director of the Humanities Lab at American University (Washington, DC) and she is author of Anatomy of a Robot: Literature, Cinema, and the Cultural Work of Artificial People (2014).

 

 

 

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

 

kakoudaki_picture-1024x731Dr. Despina Kakoudaki, Professor of Literature and Director of the Humanities Lab at American University (Washington, DC), will give a public lecture this THURSDAY, 7:00 pm, March 29th at Alumni Hall, King’s College. Her talk is titled, “Unmaking People: The Politics of Negation from Frankenstein to Westworld.”

Abstract: Drawing on the novel and film versions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and contemporary science fiction such as Ex Machina and Westworld, Dr. Kakoudaki explores the idea and treatment of the artificial person in a human world. In particular, she’ll look at how mechanical or constructed people are often set up as foils to humans as a way of examining our emotions, traumas, rights and identities.

Dr. Kakoudaki will also give a short introduction to the special performance of “Drums at Organs: or, The Modern Frankenstein” at the Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre, on Wednesday, March 28th at 7:00pm.

kakoudaki_cover_comp4.jpgDr. Kakoudaki (PhD, Comparative Literature, University of California at Berkeley) is author of Anatomy of a Robot: Literature, Cinema, and the Cultural Work of Artificial People (2014), which traces the history and cultural function of constructed people and animated objects in literature and film. She has also written on robots and cyborgs, race and melodrama in action and disaster films, body transformation and technology in early film, the political role of the pin-up in World War II, and the representation of the archive in postmodern fiction.

 

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.

Simon talk 2As part of the Automatons public lecture series, Dr. Simon Kow will give a talk on “Asian Robots and Orientalism” this Wednesday (7:00 pm, March 7th) at Alumni Hall, King’s College (Halifax).

Abstract: “This talk examines aspects of the history of East Asian robots and Orientalism from the early modern period to the present, including the image of the automaton in western Orientalist views of Asian societies, the influences  of Asian and especially Japanese cultural traditions on Asian approaches to robots, and ways in which certain depictions of robots in contemporary Japanese popular culture can be interpreted in terms of a counter-Orientalist narrative on technology.”

For more information go to the Automatons Lecture Series.

Simon talk 1

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.