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The value of the human in the age of automation

Anders Sandberg looks at the role of humans in an automated world, as part of the Polymath Festival

Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute

Event description

We are already seeing the impact of automation on the job market. Presently, machine intelligence is only domain-specific, but ultimately it will greatly exceed the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest. As such 'super-intelligent' systems develop, what jobs would humans have? Will there be any value to human life at all in such a scenario? 

There is still time. The next few decades are critical for humankind - not least because of looming ecological, military and economic crises - but principally because we will need to design a future where humans and machines can live in harmony and synchronicity. Anders Sandberg of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford will explore how it is not only machines that we must be responsible for reprogramming, but indeed our own selves. As artificial intelligence replaces the role of the 'specialist', it is multidimensional minds, or polymaths, that will become indispensable.

This event is part of the Polymath Festival


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About the speakers

Anders Sandberg's research at the Future of Humanity Institute centres on management of low-probability high-impact risks, societal and ethical issues surrounding human enhancement, estimating the capabilities of future technologies, and very long-range futures. He is currently senior researcher in the FHI-Amlin industry collaboration on systemic risk of risk modelling.

He is senior Oxford Martin fellow, and research associate of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, the Center for the Study of Bioethics (Belgrade), and the Institute of Future Studies (Stockholm). He is on the advisory boards of a number of organisations and often debates science and ethics in international media.

Anders has a background in computer science, neuroscience and medical engineering. He obtained his Ph.D. in computational neuroscience from Stockholm University, Sweden, for work on neural network modelling of human memory.

Waqas Ahmed is founder of the DaVinci Network and author of the internationally acclaimed book The Polymath (Wiley 2019). A global authority on multi-disciplinary thinking, his work spans the fields of visual art, neuroscience, international affairs, intercultural education, health and fitness and world history. 

He is the founder of the The Polymath Festival – the world’s first major festival of ideas dedicated to celebrating many-sided human potential and exploring interdisciplinary solutions to complex world problems. 


The live stream will go live at 6.55pm, and the introduction will begin at 7.00pm. If you miss the live stream, it will be available to watch on YouTube via the same link for a minimum of a week.