AI and robots may live next door, but they are not your neighbors

Event Date: 11/6/2018

Treating others as you would like to be treated may be a societal standard, but it shouldn’t be applied to artificial intelligence and robots, says Jaron Lanier.

The scientist, technologist, author, artist and musician known as the father of virtual reality, says anthropomorphizing AI and robots is actually bad for them – and for us. When we think about code or the hardware as being creatures like us, we must respect them, as they are, if we are to remain compassionate human beings, Lanier says.

He will discuss how this hobbles the development and application of the technologies on Nov. 6 during Purdue University’s annual Dawn or Doom conference, which features talks by more than three dozen Purdue faculty members and national experts. Lanier also will touch on how taking a different approach could quell fears that AI and robots will eventually replace us.

“In particular, the economy would work better,” Lanier says, “because we’d allow ourselves to see the new ways people are creating value online.”

Designed to kick-start conversations on the risks and rewards of emerging technologies, Dawn or Doom will be held on Purdue’s campus Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 5-6. The two-day conference, now in its fifth year, is free and open to the public. Lanier’s talk and Dawn or Doom ’18 are part of the Ideas Festival theme “Giant Leaps in Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, and Automation: Balancing Humanity and Technology.”

Leading national authorities like Lanier, named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time and the author of 10 Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, and stars from Purdue’s constellation of researchers focused on innovations that will transform thinking and lives are set to discuss topics in four tracks at Dawn or Doom ’18, including:

* Machines: artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles and drones.

* Mind: internet and social media effects.

* Body: bioengineering and human design.

* Data: Internet of Things, privacy and cybersecurity.

Lanier will present “The Concept of AI Harms the Technologies Created Under Its Banner” at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 6 in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall.

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