Posted by on 24October,2017 in Humanist Cafe | 0 comments


The Humanist Cafe

 Wednesday, November 1, 7:00 to 8:30 pm        
James Bay New Horizons
234 Menzies Street
James Bay

Topic: Artificial Intelligence – will it spell the end of the Human race?
moderator: John Pope

As Humanists, we are interested in the future of humankind.  So what do we make of the fact that one of the world’s most prestigious scientists is predicting that we could one day be taken over by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology?  Should we be concerned?

Please read this short article:

“Stephen Hawking: Artificial Intelligence could spell end of human race”

The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”  -Stephen Hawking

“…it would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate.”  -Stephen Hawking

Here is a definition from Wikipedia:  “Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence exhibited by machines or software. It is an academic field of study which studies the goal of creating intelligence. Major AI researchers and textbooks define this field as ‘the study and design of intelligent agents’, where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success. John McCarthy, who coined the term in 1955, defines it as ‘the science and engineering of making intelligent machines’.”

An historical timeline of AI:

Here are some more interesting articles for background reading:

How to prevent robot world domination: Project is launched to ensure AI can follow rules and make ethical decisions:

There are ethical considerations or “roboethics”: Robot rights are the moral obligations of society towards its machines, similar to human rights or animal rights.

Robots could demand legal rights:


  1. Is it ethical for AI technology to be used to replace people in positions that require respect and care, such as:

* A customer service representative, (AI technology is already used today for telephone-based interactive voice response systems)?
* A therapist, (as was seriously proposed by Kenneth Colby in the 1970s)?
* A nursemaid for the elderly, (as was reported by Pamela McCorduck in her book The Fifth Generation) ?
* A judge?
* A police officer?

2. Could a world controlled by AI be a better world?

3. How far away are we from a world dominated by AI?

4. What are the latest advances in AI technology?  Remember ‘Hitchbot’?  Go ahead and talk to a robot here:

5. Is this what evolution looks like?

Interesting links:

The Chinese Room:

The refuting of the argument: “The appropriately programmed computer with the right inputs and outputs would thereby have a mind in exactly the same sense human beings have minds.”

The Turing Test: a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.

Neuroprosthetics:  Linking the human nervous system to computers

Amazing stuff!

See you there!