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Robert Elliott Smith: AI and the bias of machines

Robert Elliott Smith and Katharine Kemp

How do we stop the internet making bigots of us all?

We live in a world increasingly ruled by technology, finding comfort in the idea that this technology is free of prejudice; only its users are fallible. But don’t be so sure, warns author and scholar Robert Elliott Smith.

In his book, Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms, and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All, the 30-year veteran in artificial intelligence challenges the long-held assumption that technology is amoral and apolitical. 

Join Robert Elliott Smith as he shines a light on how we’re increasingly being constrained by algorithms – being forced to adapt to technology rather than adapting technology to suit us. Presenting a compelling account of how we got here, Smith treads a fine line between indignation at what can happen and recognition of the scale of technological achievements. 

As an eminent computer scientist and machine learning pioneer, Smith reveals how new thinking and research can help us keep our sanity and our humanity. 

I’m not just an algorithm and neither are you.  I am a combination of lots of things that have happened in my life. And that complexity is what humanity really is, not generalisations, not categorisations.

Robert Elliott Smith

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Photo credit: Prudence Upton

This talk was chaired by Chaired by Katharine Kemp, senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law, UNSW Sydney, and presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and is a part of the UNSW Grand Challenge on Trust. Supported by WOMADelaide Planet Talks.