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Lassonde hosted a sold-out debate on AI

On Wednesday, January 24 the Lassonde School of Engineering hosted a sold-out debate on AI, ethics, regulations and the future of human society at the Bluma and Bram Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library.

Over 500 people attended this groundbreaking, publicaly-accessible debate – the second Next 100 series, Ghost in the Machine.

Next 100 is a series of public interactive events that explore how exponential technologies will impact the future of a number of spheres of public life including education, social interaction, art, entertainment and design.

We are bringing together innovators, educators, futurists, technologists, and leaders in business and art to debate these issues in front of a live audience.

The Ghost in the Machine debate was a discussion about the ways in which technology will continue transforming society and what it means to be human, with experts touching on machine learning, big data, privacy and AI.

“There are two events that I’m pretty sure will happen in the next 20-30 years – probably around the same time. The first is that computers will pass the Turing test… You will be able to interact with computers that will seem like your interacting with people, and when it happens we won’t care very much.” – Regini Rini

Led by moderator Jesse Hirsh, the debate featured panelists Huda Idrees, Steve Irvine, Ian Kerr, and Regina Rini. The panelists discussed their predictions, expectations, and concerns regarding the future potential of AI systems and what scientists, industries and governments can do to ensure that tech benefits us in the future.

The discussion introduced many ideas and questions for many guests discussing questions such as:

How do we maintain agency in the face of new technologies?

What are the things that we can do to ensure that we get the future that we desire and not the future that we dread?

To survive in the job market in the future what are the most important skills an individual can have?

“We are moving from a world where software, that runs the majority of our businesses and the majority of the interactions that we have with government and others, is moving from a framework that’s deterministic to probabilistic. So… deterministic meaning we scripted it and we put rules in, and problistic meaning we don’t need to tell it anything.“ – Steve Irvine

Academics and business experts drew on their experiences, research and public policy work, expressing strong beliefs in the responsibilities companies need to take on to ensure that tech is more equitable, accessible and sensitive to the diversity of human experience.

“We needs more public events like this. We need the events to be available after the fact online to anybody who wants to watch them. I think that’s an important thing to be doing.” – Ian Kerr

Following the Ghost in the Machine event, we are excited to announce our next event Electric Dreams, happening this spring! Check out our Next 100 website for more info.

If you missed out on our sold out Ghost in the Machine event, watch the full debate here or below.


Category: News