Friday, April 20, 2018 10:00 am - 12:15 pm
Roger Berkowitz / Bard College
Self-driving cars mean freedom and nano-robots fight diseases inside our bodies. Robotic babysitters are raising children. Federal Express dreams of pilotless aerial and terrestrial vehicles that will transport goods more cheaply, reliably, and safely than vehicles operated by humans. The military is developing autonomous weapons systems. Human rights activists deploy drones over conflict zones, intelligently searching for and documenting abuses for both rhetorical and legal purposes. And Pilobolus, a New York dance company, has choreographed a dance in which artificially intelligent machines and humans engage each other in the most human of acts: the creation of art.
In all areas of life, there is a rush to adopt robots to make our lives better. But the significance of robots to human civilization is poorly understood. In our headlong embrace of artificial intelligence technology, we must ask some basic questions: Will we humans lose connection with the labor of daily life? What will we do with our time when we no longer have to work? Does freedom as a human ideal still matter in a world increasingly managed by rationalized systems? What does it mean that the once-obvious boundary separating human and machine intelligence is being diminished? And What will be the place of humans in a world increasingly controlled by intelligent machines?
Roger Berkowitz is the Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities and Associate Professor of Politics, Human Rights, and Philosophy at Bard College. He is the author of The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition, an account of how the rise of science has led to the divorce of law and justice. He has written articles in Yale Journal of Law and Humanities, Journal of Politics, and Cardozo Law Review among others. Professor Berkowitz also writes the “Amor Mundi” weekly newsletter for the Hannah Arendt Center. You can subscribe at http://hac.bard.edu/engage/.