Illustration of a silhouette of a head made of circuitry against a blue and black background

What Sci-Fi Futures Can (and Can’t) Teach Us About AI Policy (in Washington, DC)



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Join us in Washington, DC for a half-day mini-conference on the intersection of science fiction, futurism, and real-world AI policy!

Our anxieties about what we can do with AI versus what we should do are reaching a fever pitch. While companies scramble to define what “AI ethics” means for them and citizens see algorithmic decision-making creeping into their daily experience, policymakers are facing tough choices about how to regulate this new computational wild west. Yet public dialogue about the future of AI seems to be stuck in a loop, repeating the same stories about killer robots, job-stealing AIs, and god-like super-machines. Is science fiction to blame for selling us simplistic visions of AI apocalypse? How can we make sure the stories we tell ourselves about intelligent machines will examine real-life challenges like data-based discrimination and privacy invasion, not just far-fetched threats like Terminator uprisings? What lessons can we learn about present-day policy conundrums from the rich history of AI in science fiction literature and film?

Join Future Tense, New America’s Open Technology Institute, and the Center for Science and the Imagination for a lively afternoon of discussion on sci-fi and AI with policy and tech experts, futurists, and science fiction authors—including Malka Older (Infomocracy, Null States), whose political science fiction novels were just nominated for the prestigious Hugo award for best sci-fi series.

Reception to follow. Learn more and RSVP at the New America website!

Guest Speakers

Miranda Bogen, @mbogen
Senior Policy Analyst, Upturn

Rumman Chowdhury, @ruchowdh
Responsible Artificial Intelligence Lead, Accenture

Kanta Dihal, @DrDihal
Postdoctoral Researcher, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence

Chris Noessel, @chrisnoessel
Lead Designer for IBM’s Watson Customer Engagement, author, and keeper of scifiinterfaces.com

Malka Older, @m_older
Aid worker, sociologist, and science fiction author (Infomocracy, Null States, State Tectonics)

Ashkan Soltani, @ashk4n
Independent security and privacy researcher, former Chief Technologist of the Federal Trade Commission

Damien Williams
Virginia Tech’s Department of Science, Technology, and Society

Kristin Sharp, @ktsharp2
Director, New America’s Work, Workers & Technology

Elana Zeide, @elanazeide
PULSE Fellow in Artificial Intelligence, Law & Policy at UCLA School of Law

More speakers to be confirmed.