‘A Great Enchanted Garden: Can AI Give Us Back Our Sense of Wonder?’ is a talk by Ryan Avent (Senior Editor and Free Exchange Columnist, The Economist, Arlington, USA) curated by The Serving Library in partnership with LJMU’s Exhibition Research Lab for Liverpool Biennial 2018.
Industrialisation often deprived society of any sense of purpose other than increasing output and incomes, while modern economic growth pushes us to ever narrower specialisations that deny us a meaningful connection to our work. Progress built on advances in science and technology is relentlessly rationalistic, squeezing all the mystery out of the world while simultaneously reinforcing our individual unimportance within it. Today’s advances in Artificial Intelligence mean that much of how technology will work in future is entirely mysterious to all but a few experts (and maybe even them as well). AI is creating spirited creatures, like cars that drive themselves and robots that walk among us, and it is easy to imagine how that could all turn out to be ugly and dystopian, but this talk will suggest that there are perhaps ways to make it beautiful and affirming, too.