Some technologies promise such transformative change that no one field of scholarship can fully describe its impact. As artificial intelligence evolves from sci-fi trope to everyday tech, its potential to change science, art, entertainment, and society at large comes into focus. But cutting through the fog of hype to forecast the realistic benefits and fears around AI requires a conversation across disciplines.
On May 1st, a convening of University of Chicago experts from computer science, the arts, and humanities gathered at John Crerar Library for “Exploring the Future of AI Through Science, Art, and Games,” an event organized by the Center for Data and Computing, the UChicago Department of Computer Science, the Media Arts, Data and Design Center, and the Weston Game Lab. The first event of the 2019 UChicago Innovation Fest grappled with a topic that goes beyond technology into philosophy, ethics, and the very meaning of humanity in a world where machines perform more and more tasks once thought exclusively human.
Attendees also had the chance to explore some of these weighty issues in a more interactive manner, by play-testing a new card game from Tommy Maranges, a Chicago game designer who co-created the popular Secret Hitler. His new game, Inhuman Conditions, riffs on Blade Runner and other famous examples of AI and robotics in science fiction to create an intense interrogation where one player tries to determine if another is a robot or human — “Hopefully true to the dystopic origins of the Turing Test in how bad it feels.”