Artificial Intelligence: how much will it change our lives?

19 April 2017

Does Artificial Intelligence (AI) signal the end of civilisation as we know it? Will technological progress to develop machine super-intelligence trigger changes we can’t control?

The University of Auckland is holding a series of public lectures during May on key aspects of AI, exploring how machine learning is likely to impact on our everyday lives.

The series also looks at the serious ethical and moral issues likely to arise as a result of new AI technologies.

“One of the key questions is whether or not the technologies being developed will work for the greater good of humankind or whether they will do the opposite,” says University of Auckland Associate Professor of Computer Science Ian Watson.

“When we think about our technological future, and, for example, a whole range of jobs disappearing, including traditionally middle-class jobs such as accountancy and law, it’s clear we need to begin addressing some major issues with real urgency.”

This year’s Gibbons lecture series, Steps Towards the Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and its Impact, starts with a look at AI’s potential to understand data in a way never seen before.

The second lecture looks at the development of the ‘smart home’ where computers could, for example, improve the lives of the elderly by detecting abnormal patterns of behaviour to alert a caregiver.

The third lecture looks at the spectacular growth in machine learning and asks, what comes next? While this lecture will focus on recent breakthroughs, it also looks at the intrinsic limitations of AI and where the frontiers in its development may lie.

The final lecture in the Gibbons series looks at AI in the home, workplace and on the battlefield and the wider role wider society will need to play in deciding on fundamental ethical questions we will have to confront.

This lecture series begins on 4 May and runs through to 25 May. Lectures are free and open to the public.

Information about the Gibbons Lectures:


Anne Beston
Media Relations Adviser
University of Auckland

Tel: +64 9 923 3258
Mobile: + 64 (0) 21 970 089