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Joanna Bourke & Toby Walsh - Killer robots and the human construction of war

The In-Between  /  EP05
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By the year 2062, it is predicted that we will have built machines that are as intelligent as humans. Modern weapons will become more autonomous, machines will further infiltrate our daily lives, and the way we think of humanity will be permanently altered. To understand what lies ahead and learn from our past, Ann Mossop sits between Joanna Bourke and Toby Walsh in a conversation about the future of AI, killer robots and what it means to be human.

Delve even deeper into the speakers and themes discussed in this episode:

Toby Walsh: The End of the world as we know it (FODI 2018)
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz & Zenyep Tufekci: Privacy is Selfish (FODI 2018)

Download transcript here.

One of the things that really worries me is the complacency that so many people have towards these changes in our society, particularly the scientific ones.
Joanna Bourke
We are facing the prospect that intelligence will be taken from us, that we won’t be unique, and machines may be able to do all those things. That will be a profound moment of humility, what it is to be human.
Toby Walsh

Joanna Bourke

Joanna Bourke is a historian, academic and professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is also the Gresham Professor of Rhetoric (London, 2019-2023). She is the Principal Investigator on a Wellcome Trust-funded project entitled ‘SHaME‘ (Sexual Harms and Medical Encounters). She is the prize-winning author of 14 books, as well as over 100 articles in academic journals. She is the author of many books including What it Means To Be Human, The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers, and Disgrace: Global Reflections on Sexual Violence.


Toby Walsh

Toby Walsh is a leading researcher in Artificial Intelligence. He is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Scientia Professor of AI at UNSW and CSIRO Data61, and adjunct professor at QUT. He is a strong advocate for limits to ensure AI is used to improve our lives, having spoken at the UN, and to heads of state, parliamentary bodies, company boards and many other bodies on this topic. He is a Fellow of the Australia Academy of Science, and was named on the international ‘Who’s Who in AI’ list of influencers.