TALK: Unnatural Powers: Ecological Crisis and the “Risks” of Progress
Some have asserted that the risks of AI exceed those associated with climate change. The implication is that developments in the field of AI are leading to effects that will be more out of societal control than is global warming. My paper will challenge the naturalization of AI and the political neutralization of ecological crisis implied in contemporary efforts to frame the “risks” of progress. It is not an out-of-control “superintelligence” that should be worrisome, but the heteronomous social process of exchange through which the “economic value” of A.I. and robotics technology is realized at the expense of societal and ecological qualities.
KAREN ASP is a PhD student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, Toronto. Her research is situated in the fields of German critical theory and the critique of political eco-economy. After many years of working in the field of environmental politics and planning, she is pursuing the vexing problem of the resilience of the capitalist system of money and power. Why does it seem we are stuck in a “present” that is repeating familiar promises, notably that of technological progress – e.g. “4th industrial revolution” – as panaceas for social inequality and ecological exhaustion? Why do we seem stuck in a social organization committed to economic growth “at any cost,” notwithstanding the scope and extent of “planetary” exhaustion – the spectre of the so-called Anthropocene? What form might resistance take now; is this “time” any different? She has a BA in politics and two Masters Degrees, in Geography and in Social and Political Thought (SPT). She is Social Robot Futures’ web designer/manager and occasional blogger.