Posts Tagged ‘Heffernan’

As Teresa Heffernan noted here last week, at the Silicon Valley-based Singularity University, “faith in technology and profit are unwavering, while the world’s problems are understood as great ‘market’ opportunities.” In March 2013, journalist Eric Benson took a weeklong $12,000 course in the Executive Program at the university. Not only was he instructed in the “nearly limitless potential of artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, and bioinformatics,” he learned that science fiction, religion and the drive to get rich motivate the university’s teachers and students. Benson’s insightful analysis of his experience, “Sci-Fi, Religion, And Silicon Valley’s Quest For Higher Learning At Singularity University” is posted at BuzzFeed.

Eric Benson/BuzzFeed

Eric Benson/BuzzFeed

Why Science Needs Fiction

Posted: February 28, 2014 by teresaheffernan1 in AI, Film, Sci Fi, Technology, Theory
Tags: , , , , ,

“Attitudes, religious beliefs, personality traits, and social habits—information on all of these can be the subject of a questionnaire to be filled out when a human orders a robot, or it could be acquired by the robot in the course of the conversation. Once the robot’s memory has acquired all necessary information about its human, the robot will be able to emulate sufficient of the human’s stated personality characteristics to create a meaningful level of similarity.” David Levy, Artificial Intelligence Researcher and CEO of Intelligent Toys Ltd, from his Love and Sex with Robots (2007).

Scientists working in artificial intelligence and robotics often comment on the inspiration they draw from fiction. Yet what role do literature and film play when it comes to questions about the future of the industry, social policy, and ethics? Social Robot Futures is a place that takes seriously the feedback loop between science and the humanities, and that restores fiction to the industry of robotics and AI. It opens up a space to imagine this technology as untethered by questions of profit or military funding.  (more…)