As technology rapidly progresses, some proponents of artificial intelligence believe that it will help solve complex social challenges and offer immortality via virtual humans. But AI's critics are sounding the alarm, going so far as to call its development an "existential threat" to mankind. Is this the stuff of science fiction? Could the "Terminator" become reality, or will these fears prevent the next technological revolution?
James Hughes, PhD, is the executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. A bioethicist and sociologist, he serves as the associate provost for institutional research, assessment, and planning for the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is author of Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future, and is working on a second book tentatively titled Cyborg Buddha. From 1999 to 2011, Hughes produced the syndicated weekly radio program, Changesurfer Radio. A fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is also a member of Humanity+, the Neuroethics Society, the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, and the Working Group on Ethics and Technology at Yale University. He speaks on medical ethics, health care policy, and future studies worldwide. Hughes holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago, where he taught bioethics at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.
Andrew Keen is the author of three books: “Cult of the Amateur,” “Digital Vertigo,” and “The Internet Is Not The Answer,” which the London Sunday Times acclaimed as a “powerful, frightening read” and the Washington Post called “an enormously useful primer for those of us concerned that online life isn’t as shiny as our digital avatars would like us to believe.”
Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist at Microsoft Research. He helped pioneer the field of virtual reality, in the nineteen-eighties, and has contributed to such diverse pursuits as surgical simulation and the study of brain evolution. In 2009, he received the Virtual Reality Career Award from I.E.E.E., the world's principal engineering society. This year, he was included in Time's list of the hundred most influential people in the world. His book, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, came out in January 2011.
Martine Rothblatt is Founder of SiriusXM and Founder and CEO of United Therapeutics.