Sunday, June 17News For London

Dancing with robots: a tale of hope and fear

In 1982, Blade Runner pictured a dystopian future settled in LA in 2019 where a private corporation whose motto is ‘More human than humans’ has created a superior android called Replicant, an improved version of human beings. Replicants are stronger, faster and smarter than humans. They have reached the final step of mankind: they fear the death. They want more life. They have consciousness. The machine has become human.

Only one year before 2019, how far are we from this paradigm in real life? Much closer than we think, according to many experts. The flying driverless cars, the genetically-modified food and the permanent acid rain seen in the movie are almost here with us. It is just a matter of years. Technological development is changing the face of the earth. Artificial intelligence is challenging our way of life, our jobs and our values. We are only beginning to understand the magnitude of this breakthrough. It is so huge that most people might never die. The old Replicant dream come true:

Whereas Futurologist and Inventor Ian Pearson believes that AI will bring prosperity and equality, other qualified voices are raising awareness about the risks of trusting technology too much. The speed at which intelligent machines are being developed is unveiling a number of issues which require immediate attention: gender, age and race bias; ownership and democratisation of knowledge, and also loneliness, addiction and cultural uniformity. Tech Journalist Thomas McMullan warns that the UK may not be addressing these issues seriously.

Dancing with robots: a tale of hope and fear is a radio documentary that aims at reflecting on how the massive implementation of AI in our society is already modifying the world as we have always conceived it. Through the opinions and thoughts of engineers, sociologists, politicians and artists, but also through various examples from popular culture and current news, it will try to open new debates and to shine a light on this fascinating and troubling period of history.

The full story can be listened here.

Image Credits: Orbium