Library Speaker Series

2023-24 series

Ethical Issues in Artificial Intelligence: 2023 Annual Library Lecture Series

4 October 2023 - 26 October 2023
Each year, the Rotman Institute of Philosophy and the Department of Philosophy organizes a public lecture series co-sponsored with the London Public Library. The theme for this year’s lecture series is Ethical Issues in Artificial Intelligence.

October 5
Animation and Artificial Intelligence, or How and Why ChatGPT is Like Mickey Mouse

Lawson Room, Central Library - Thursday, October 5, 2023 | 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Animation increasingly defines the cultural contours of the twenty-first century and is broadly used across many forms of digital media. More than just cartooning, puppetry, or CGI, animation is a paradigm involving the projection of qualities perceived as human such as power, agency, will, and personality outside of the self and onto objects in the the environment. In this talk, I argue ChatGPT and similar chatbots powered by Large Language Models (LLMs) can be best understood as animated characters, and that other characteristics of animation—including reliance on stereotypes, obfuscation of human labor, and manipulation of an audience’s emotions—can help us both analyze and respond appropriately to interactive AI technologies and the hyperbolic claims of their promoters.

Speaker: Luke Stark

October 12
What is ChatGPT Made of?

Lawson Room, Central Library - Thursday, October 12, 2023 | 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a regular feature in the news recently, mainly because of advances in “Generative AI” that have been translated into free consumer products like ChatGPT and Dall-E. Anyone with an internet connection can now ask AI to write an essay or create an image with the content of their choice. Despite AI’s sudden shift into public consciousness on the product side, how these products work remains specialized knowledge held by computer scientists, and a veil of mythologizing keeps the public convinced that they wouldn’t understand.

In this talk we will look under the hood of Generative AI to see how products like ChatGPT and DALL-E are built. We will look at the data used, the copyright violations involved, the energy resources, their environmental effects, the low-wage labour that supports the process, and the social impacts that could result from widespread use. We will also look at how the tools work, to illuminate some ways they tend to fail, and the uses for which they are and are not well suited.

Speaker: Catherine Stinson

October 19
From Data Harms to Data Justice: Why We all Have a Role to Play in Building Better Futures

Lawson Room, Central Library - Thursday, October 19, 2023 | 7:00 – 8:30 pm

At the Data Justice Lab we’ve been keeping a record of how people are being negatively affected by the increasing use of data systems all around us. We have also been researching the important work being done to try to prevent data harms. This talk provides an overview of how contemporary data practices are leading to harm as well as the social justice work being done to try to ensure datafied futures where we can all thrive.

Speaker: Joanna Redden

October 26
Panel Discussion: Can We Enhance AI ‘Trustworthiness’ Through Regulation?

Lawson Room, Central Library - Thursday, October 26, 2023 | 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Can AI’s design and use be regulated to make it more “trustworthy” (assuming AI can even be trustworthy, which is a subject of some philosophical debate)? Discussions about the need to regulate AI are happening furiously right now. High-profile cases involve the regulation of automated vehicles and generative AI such as ChatGPT. This public panel will focus on how AI could and/or should be controlled through regulation.

Susie Lindsay, Vanessa Thomas, Anthony D’Amato

Moderator: Jason Millar