SPACE4 Discussion: Wishful Worries + Criti-Hyper: Are we Missing the Real Problems with AI?


Wishful Worries + Criti-Hype: Are We Missing the Real Problems with AI?

Thu 09 Nov 2023 at 18:30 | Eventbrite

When we’re thinking about the potential harms of technology, its easy to get caught up in highly speculative ethical conversations.

  • How will we avoid boredom when biotechnology allows us all to live longer?
  • Will AI usher in an age of automation that necessitates a Universal Basic Income?
  • What dilemmas will we face when people have access to brain–computer interfaces?

These sorts of speculative concerns are often put forward by tech industry bosses and insiders, i.e. those who stand to benefit from hype about technology’s potential.

While these concerns might be fascinating and make for some great sci-fi, there are some genuine harms happening right now in society that technology is exacerbating (e.g. growing wealth inequality, ecosystem collapse, and the rise of fascism across the world).

In this event we will discuss some of the real contemporary problems with AI, and how we can address them.

This is a SPACE4 discussion event where we invite speakers to discuss and debate topics around tech for good, progressive economics, and left-leaning politics.

Drinks and refreshments provided. We are grateful to be funded by the Disrupt Foundation.


John Ridpath (he/him) works in Responsible Technology, Data Education and Learning Experience Design. In 2022, he founded London Undergrowth, a peer-to-peer learning org that explores ideas like regenerative economics, biomimicry and systems thinking. Between 2021 and 2022 he worked as a Product Strategist at Projects by IF, a design studio focused on responsible technology. Before that, he worked as a web developer, design/tech journalist, lecturer, facilitator, learning designer, and Head of Product at a technology education scale-up. John has been thinking lots about wishful worries and criti-hype. He actually came to SPACE4 with the idea of this event so he will be hosting and facilitating the discussion.

Kestral Gaian (she/they) has worked at the cross-section of technology and society for two decades within the technology industry, healthcare, and in academia. Her role at the London Interdisciplinary School includes teaching on technocultiralism, futures literacy, and delivering a new module in AI and Ethics. Kestral will speak about trust in the age of AI, and what it really means to be ethical when you’re dealing with a machine that can think.

Michaela Chen (she/her) is a researcher and advocate at Foxglove, a legal non-profit organisation that fights tech giants and governments to make tech fair for everyone. They’ve forced the disclosure of secret contracts, stopped racist visa-streaming algorithms, healped make grading fair and much more. Michaela will speak about the case they are working on against the Department for Work and Pensions for the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People.

We stand up to the tech giants and governments, and stand up for a future where technology is used to benefit everyone, not just the rich and powerful.

Sara Alsherif (she/her) is a human/ rights defender and researcher in digital rights for Open Rights Group, a UK-based digital campaigning organisation working to protect our rights to privacy and free speech online. Her academic research has varied from critical analysis of how data is captured and disseminated in social media to the impact of women’s representation in technology on code bias, machine learning and recognition technology, and their human rights implications. Sara will speak about the layers of bias in AI against underrepresented groups, with the example of algorithmic bias against migrants and refugees.

Drinks and refreshments provided. We are grateful to be funded by the Disrupt Foundation.

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