Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study: TECHNOLOGY, AGENCY, AND VALUES: A POLYMATHIC EXPLORATION OF AUTONOMY IN HUMANS AND MACHINES
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
Schedule of Events
9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Panels and discussion, DML 240