Episode 32: Artificial Intelligence and the Moral Imagination
Artificial intelligence’s remarkable advances, along with the risks and opportunities the technology presents, have become a topic of feverish discussion. Along with contemplating the dangers AI poses to employment and information ecosystems, there are those who claim it endangers humanity as a whole. These concerns are in line with a long tradition of cautionary tales about human creations escaping their bounds to wreak havoc.
But several recent novels pose a more subtle, and in some ways more interesting, question: What does our interaction with artificial intelligence reveal about us and our society? In this episode, historian Deborah Poskanzer speaks with managing editor Jason Lloyd about three books that she recently reviewed for Issues: Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan, Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, and The Employees by Olga Ravn (translated by Martin Aitken). She talks about the themes that unite these novels, the connections they draw with real-world politics and history, and what they reveal about our moral imagination.
Read Deborah Poskanzer’s book reviews in Issues:
- “Not Your Father’s Turing Test”: review of Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan, Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, and The Employees by Olga Ravn (translated by Martin Aitken).
- “Exploring the Depths of Scientific Patronage”: review of Science on a Mission: How Military Spending Shaped What We Do and Don’t Know About the Ocean by Naomi Oreskes.
- “A Planet-Changing Idea”: review of The Environment: A History of the Idea by Paul Warde, Libby Robin, and Sverker Sörlin.
- “Oh, the Humanities!”: review of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz and College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be by Andew Delbanco.