Keeping Humans in the Loop

May 2, 2019

Broadcast: May 5, 2019 at 4 p.m.

As our world becomes more challenging, can we maintain control of our own future? Threats arise not just from climate change or inventions such as artificial intelligence, but also from our digital aids: algorithms that classify and define our wants, our needs, and our behavior. Also, could a future in which data about everything is freely available be a good thing?

Modern technology is great, but could we be losing control?  As our world becomes more crowded and demands for resources are greater, some people worry about humanity’s uncertain prospects.  An eminent cosmologist considers globe-altering developments such as climate change and artificial intelligence.  Will we be able to stave off serious threats to our future? There’s also another possible source of danger: our trendy digital aids.  We seem all-too-willing to let algorithms classify and define our wants, our needs, and our behavior. Instead of using technology, are we being used by it – to inadvertently become social media’s product?  

And while we may be skittish about the increased data our technology collects, one sci-fi writer imagines a future in which information is a pervasive and freely available commodity. 

Guests:

Martin Rees – Cosmologist, astrophysicist, and Great Britain’s Astronomer Royal.  Author of On the Future: Prospects for Humanity

Douglas Rushkoff – Media theorist and professor of media theory and digital economics, City University of New York.  Author of Team Human

Malka Older – Author and humanitarian worker, author of The Centenal Cycle.  

Produced by: Big Picture Science

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