Millennia-old dreams of intelligent machines have shaped hopes, fears, and expectations for AI. In the West, the most influential of these visions are shaped by a narrow demographic. However, a rich body of imaginative narratives about life with intelligent machines exists across the world. Different religious, linguistic, philosophical, literary and cinematic traditions have led to different conceptions of AI. We set up the research project Global AI Narratives to investigate these alternative visions that disrupt the status quo of Western narratives, from nations that lead in AI development to communities that have these technologies and their associated fictions imposed on them. In this talk, we will introduce a range of fictional narratives from regions including China, Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Japan, that have reflected as well as contested the sociopolitical and technological contexts in which they were produced.
Dr Stephen Cave is Executive Director of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI), Senior Research Associate in the Faculty of Philosophy, and Fellow of Hughes Hall, all at the University of Cambridge. At CFI, he oversees a team of researchers across five programmes on the nature and impact of AI in the short and long term. His own research is in philosophy of technology, in particular critical perspectives on AI, robotics and life-extension technologies. In addition to his research and writing, he has served in the British Diplomatic Service and advised a range of governmental and international bodies. He is author of the book Immortality (Penguin Random House 2012), a New Scientist book of the year, and co-editor of AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking About Intelligent Machines (OUP 2020).
Dr Kanta Dihal is a Senior Research Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on science narratives, particularly those that emerge from conflict. She leads two research projects, Global AI Narratives and Decolonizing AI, in which she focuses on the portrayals and perceptions of artificial intelligence across cultures. She is co-editor of AI Narratives (Oxford, 2020) and has advised the World Economic Forum, the UK House of Lords, and the United Nations. She obtained her DPhil on the communication of quantum physics at Oxford in 2018.