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AI, states and corporations

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Artificial Intelligence will be the focus of this year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures by the Oxford Professor of Computer Science, Mike Wooldridge. In his series of lectures (broadcast on BBC Four in late December) he will attempt to disentangle the realities from the myths, but will also demonstrate the huge impact AI is already having in fields ranging from medicine to football to astrophysics, as well as on the creative arts.

The bestselling novelist Naomi Alderman has fun with AI and its tech trillionaire-creators in her latest thriller The Future. While the wealthy corporate heads are effectively decapitated by an end-of-the-world scenario, the story explores whether the technology that could presage the apocalypse can also be used for the good of society.

The Professor of Politics at Cambridge, David Runciman, wants to change the way people think about a future in which artificial intelligence has taken control. In The Handover he looks back to the formation of states and corporations, arguing that these are the precursors to AI: powerful artificial entities that have come to rule our world. While thy have made us richer and safer, he questions what will happen to human existence if these two machines – states and AI – join forces.

Producer: Katy Hickman

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