Technology, Agency, and Values: A Polymathic Exploration of Autonomy in Humans and Machines

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Go to:
Saturday, February 22, 2020
When: 9:30am - 3:30pm
Doheny Memorial Library, Academy for Polymathic Study (room 241)
Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 09:30

While autonomy is a feature of much organic life, it is perhaps the defining feature of human existence. It is also, however, a distinguishing facet of much recent technology; a new cohort of artificially intelligent machines, systems, and agents that operate increasingly without human intervention. The most conspicuous examples include driverless automobiles, autonomous weapons, social media bots, assistive robots, and devices comprising the Internet of Things. But all algorithmically-automated systems with which we now engage are self-governing to a degree. In what ways might the increased autonomy of these systems affect our own agency? How might our use of such systems impact how we function as humans? Or how we see ourselves as human? How might they alter our dynamics with each other? Join us for a day of discussion about our past, present, and future relationship with autonomous technologies. In a series of panels, faculty from computer science, engineering, robotics, humanities, and social sciences will reflect on the applications, ethics, and history of these systems.

Schedule of Events

Introduction and opening remarks

9:30am - 9:45am

Encoded Stories: Autonomous Tech and the Popular Imagination
(9:45am - 11:00am)


Jennifer Cool, Anthropology, USC
Tok Thompson, Anthropology and Communication, USC
Discussant: Curtis Fletcher, Sidney Harman Academy, USC Libraries
Q & A


(11:00am - 11:15am)


Modeling Humanity: Robotics and Multi-agent Technologies
(11:15am - 12:30pm)


Stefanos Nikolaidis, Director of the Interactive and Collaborative Autonomous Robotic Systems Lab, Viterbi, USC
Jonathan Gratch, Director for Virtual Humans Research, USC
Institute for Creative Technologies
Discussant: Sharon Lloyd, Philosophy, USC
Q & A


LUNCH (Provided)
(12:30pm – 1:30pm)


Whose Autonomy? Data, Privacy, and Programmed Surveillance
(1:30pm – 2:45pm)

Kelly Gates, Communication and Science Studies, UCSD
Simone A. Browne, African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas, Austin
Discussant: Tara McPherson, Cinematic Arts, USC
Q & A

Wrap up and closing remarks