AI in the Wild: Sustainability in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

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In the third seminar of our QUT Global Law, Science and Technology Seminar Series, we will hear from Professor Peter Dauvergne, who will be presenting on his book entitled “AI in the Wild: Sustainability in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”.

Abstract: Looking around at the ingenious ways that artificial intelligence is fighting climate change, biodiversity loss, and global pollution, it might seem as if we are on the cusp of a sustainability revolution. Drones with night vision are tracking elephant and rhino poachers in Africa’s parklands. Smart submersibles are navigating Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to save the coral from carnivorous starfish. Cell phones that have been recycled into listening devices are nestled in the rainforests of Indonesia and Brazil, automatically alert rangers to the sound of illegal logging. Machine learning is refining wildlife mapping and climate modeling. Smart automation is enhancing the eco-efficiency of farms, cities, and global business. There are even self-learning robots conducting breakthrough research on solar energy.

However, great care is necessary to avoid hyping artificial intelligence as the Earth’s saviour. As Peter Dauvergne will argue in this seminar, although AI is generating some environmental gains, powerful corporations and states are exaggerating the benefits, ignoring the risks, and deploying AI in ways antithetical to sustainability. Moreover, the competition to profit from artificial intelligence has the potential to entrench technocratic management, increase resource extraction, and turbocharge consumerism. It has the potential to generate new forces of inequality and injustice; empowering big business and militarized states within international relations, posing grave threats to the global environmental movement.

Artificial intelligence cannot be wished away. The powers already unleashed ensure that. Those seeking sustainability will need to understand the full consequences of this technology.

Seminar details

Date: Wednesday, 30 September 2020
Time: 10.00am – 11.00am (AEST)
Venue: Online via Zoom
RSVP: Please register online if you would like to attend

Guest presenter

Professor Peter DauvergnePeter Dauvergne is a professor of international relations in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. A specialist in global environmental politics, his books include AI in the Wild: Sustainability in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (MIT Press, 2020), Will Big Business Destroy Our Planet? (Polity, 2018), Environmentalism of the Rich (MIT Press, 2016), Protest Inc.: The Corporatization of Activism (with Genevieve LeBaron) (Polity, 2014), and Eco-Business: A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability (with Jane Lister) (MIT Press, 2013).

About the series

The QUT Global Law, Science and Technology Seminar Series aims to bring together national and international speakers who will explore the personal, societal and governance dimensions of solving real world problems which are influenced by, and through the interactions of science, technology and the law.

The series will host speakers who think about ‘technology’ and ‘science’ as broadly construed to refer to methods of framing or interacting with the world, and that enable the critical and imaginative questioning of the technical, science, environmental and health dimensions of law and life.

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