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‘Good Robot / Bad Robot’ comes to the Opera House for National Science Week

June 26, 2018 Whats On No Comments Email Email

Sydney Opera House and UNSW Centre for Ideas present


The Sydney Opera House and UNSW Centre for Ideas today announced they’re joining forces for National Science Week to present an unmissable event exploring Artificial Intelligence and the future of living with intelligent machines. Good Robot / Bad Robot will take place at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday 12 August 2018.

Professor Toby Walsh (UNSW), Hae Won Park (MIT) and Ellen Broad (international AI consultant) will debate how the development of thinking machines will increasingly form an important part of our lives. With the potential for robots to become our toys, our pets, our friends and our partners, this panel of experts will investigate: Will AI destroy our jobs? Could it pose an existential threat? What should we be doing now to prepare?

In a foreseeable future where robots can be everything from carers to warriors, this panel will interrogate what AI means not just for human lives, but for the way we understand human intelligence, human values, and humanity itself. The panellists will deliberate on what we need to do right now to ensure society can steer extraordinary technological developments in the right direction and avoid a dystopian future.

Sydney Opera House Head of Talks & Ideas, Dr Edwina Throsby says: “The robots are rising whether we like it or not. Technology around artificial intelligence and machine learning is advancing apace, and we as human beings have to be thinking right now about how we want our future with smart machines to look. I’m very pleased to be welcoming this international panel of experts to the Sydney Opera House for a timely discussion which will consider not just the practical but also the philosophical implications of AI – how can you stop machines being biased? How do you program morality? And what does artificial intelligence show us about our own ways of thinking?”

UNSW Centre for Ideas External Relations Director, Ann Mossop says: “National Science week is a great time for us to have a conversation about some of the technology that is on the horizon and what it will mean for all of us.”

Professor Toby Walsh is a leading researcher in Artificial Intelligence. His latest book, 2062: The World that AI Made, will be published in early August. He was named by The Australian newspaper as a “rock star” of Australia’s digital revolution. He is Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at UNSW, leads the Algorithmic Decision Theory group at Data61, Australia’s Centre of Excellence for ICT Research, and is Guest Professor at TU Berlin.

Ellen Broad is an independent consultant and expert in data sharing, open data and AI ethics. She has worked in technology policy and implementation in global roles, including as head of policy for Open Data Institute and as manager of digital projects and policy for the International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions. In Australia, she ran the Australian Digital Alliance. Broad has provided independent advice on data and digital issues to governments, UN bodies and multinational tech companies. She has testified before committees of the European and Australian parliaments and spoken at SXSW. Ellen designed a board game about data with ODI CEO Jeni Tennison that is currently being played in nineteen countries.

Hae Won Park is a research scientist in the Personal Robots Group at MIT Media Lab. Her work focuses on developing interactive social machines that deeply personalise to their users over a long-term interaction. She deploys and tests the systems she develops in the real-world, to support human learning, emotional and social wellbeing, behavioural changes and decision making. While doing her PhD at Georgia Tech, she co-founded Zyrobotics, a company that provides inclusive mobile technologies to make learning accessible.

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