Skip to content

Zoomed Down Under

It’s again that time of the year, when SF fans from all over the world flock to a single place to mingle: Zoom. (And, lest Eris would object to the omission, Discord.)

I am, of course, talking about CoNZealand, the 2020 Worldcon, now a virtual convention due to certain unfortunate circumstances. A shame that it had to be such a unique location to suffer this loss (though as the silver lining, one doesn’t have to wonder how much carbon offsets are necessary for flying around the world).

Nevertheless, the show must go on. I offered my newbie author and AI enthusiast point of view to the CNZ, and lo and behold, they put me on two panels and gave me a slot for my presentation on Our New Robot Overlords.

My schedule for the con is as follows:

Welcome, New Professional Writers (12:00, Wednesday 29 Jul 2020 NZST)

Programming geared to new professionals about the industry – things like handling career slumps or disappointments, fan expectations, things going wrong with professional relationships, how to build community, advice on building careers long term, handling financial stuff, etc and next level (not 101) discussions on craft/trends/genre.

I’ll do my best to impersonate a seasoned professional. Well, this year has been good to me, and I do have some small press experience to go with the newbie author aspect. It’ll be fine; fine, I tell me, fine!

Universal Rights in the Age of AI (16:00, Friday 31 Jul 2020 NZST)

Human rights are a contentious issue – while many nations signed the UN Declaration on Human Rights, that consensus only formed because the Declaration doesn’t specify where rights come from. How can the definition and origin of “universal” rights grapple with the rise of general artificial intelligence? What rights are inherent to people made of small, sub-sentient devices scattered across an asteroid belt, or to algorithms of commercial origin? Will the AIs think we deserve rights, or will they resent slow meatbrained humans passing judgment on them?

I’ll be moderating this one, though that wasn’t the original plan. This actually meshes nicely with my Finncon 2019 panel (as well as general interests) so I think it’ll be interesting

Our New Robot Overlords: Why and How They Will Take Over (15:00, Saturday 1 Aug 2020 NZST)

Artificial intelligences that despise humanity are a tired sci-fi cliché. Happily, such an outcome would be highly unlikely in reality! Our new robot overlords will actually want to destroy–or, with a great deal of luck, subjugate–us for much less antropomorphic reasons. In this talk, we will present some entry-level theoretical background on what drives an advanced AI is likely to have and how these relate to the subject at hand. Then we will take a look at some potential methods for a superior intellect to take over the world. Finally, we will consider whether it could, in some scenarios, nevertheless be appropriate to simply welcome our new robot overlords.

Ahh, straight from Universal Rights to Overlords. Anyway, this is a slightly updated version of my Finncon 2019 talk, now for a wider audience. Come here if you want to hear how superintelligent AIs are like genies, or what glimpses we might have had into what superintelligence looks like. Stay until the end for choice conspiracy theories!

Happy CoNZealand, virtual though it may be, to one and all.

Published inCons

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *