We are in the midst of an explosion of technology and knowledge. Google CEO Eric Schmidt famously said that we now create as much information in two days as humans did from the beginning of history to 2003. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and data science promise to bring a new dawn of discoveries to improve society—while others are concerned about unforeseen consequences or malicious uses.
Just the speed at which information is developed and used to convert disruptive technologies and businesses raises questions, such as:
- Is technology moving too fast for effective governmental legislation?
- What are the risks and benefits associated with technologies such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence, and do we know enough about each science to provide adequate answers?
- Will corporations replace universities and governments as the organizing platform for innovation and progress? If so, what does this mean for citizens?
To investigate these questions, Purdue will host a one-day seminar on the benefits and risks surrounding some of the technologies that are both the most disruptive to current practices and being adopted the fastest. This seminar will present interdisciplinary discussions examining the research, opportunities, challenges, and questions brought about by the increasingly rapid rate of technological change.
A collection of Purdue faculty experts from all colleges will showcase their many perspectives related to this technology explosion, explore conditions that will foster innovation and investment into the next generation, and address the big-picture issues where both optimism and pessimism are warranted.
Additionally, this conference will examine ideas presented in Barrat’s book Our Final Invention, which asks, “Are ‘thinking’ computers the dawn of a bright future or the harbingers of doom for the human race?” The question of “Dawn or Doom?” will be applied to all areas of study at Purdue, and lectures will examine the question as it relates to such topics as machine intelligence exceeding human intelligence, the growth of nanotechnology, intelligent robotics, and emerging biotechnology.