292 episodes

Significant international thinkers deliver the BBC's flagship annual lecture series. This year, Stuart Russell explores the future of AI and asks: how can we get it right?

The Reith Lectures BBC Radio 4

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.3 • 127 Ratings

Significant international thinkers deliver the BBC's flagship annual lecture series. This year, Stuart Russell explores the future of AI and asks: how can we get it right?

    AI: A Future for Humans

    AI: A Future for Humans

    Stuart Russell suggests a way forward for human control over super-powerful artificial intelligence. He argues for the abandonment of the current “standard model” of AI, proposing instead a new model based on three principles - chief among them the idea that machines should know that they don’t know what humans’ true objectives are. Echoes of the new model are already found in phenomena as diverse as menus, market research, and democracy. Machines designed according to the new model would be, Russell suggests, deferential to humans, cautious and minimally invasive in their behaviour and, crucially, willing to be switched off. He will conclude by exploring further the consequences of success in AI for our future as a species.

    Stuart Russell is Professor of Computer Science and founder of the Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence at the University of California, Berkeley.

    The programme and question-and-answer session was recorded at the National Innovation Centre for Data in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
    Presenter: Anita Anand
    Producer: Jim Frank
    Production Coordinator: Brenda Brown
    Editor: Hugh Levinson.

    • 58 min
    AI in the economy

    AI in the economy

    Professor Stuart Russell explores the future of work and one of the most concerning issues raised by Artificial Intelligence: the threat to jobs. How will the economy adapt as work is increasingly done by machines? Economists’ forecasts range from rosy scenarios of human-AI teamwork, to dystopian visions in which most people are excluded from the economy altogether. Was the economist Keynes correct when he said that we were born to “strive”? If much of the work in future will be carried out by machines, what does that mean for humans? What will we do?

    Stuart Russell is Professor of Computer Science and founder of the Centre for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence at the University of California, Berkeley.

    The lecture and question-and-answer session was recorded at Edinburgh University.
    Presenter: Anita Anand
    Producer: Jim Frank
    Editor: Hugh Levinson
    Production Coordinator: Brenda Brown
    Sound: Neil Churchill and Hal Haines

    • 58 min
    AI in warfare

    AI in warfare

    Stuart Russell warns of the dangers of developing autonomous weapon systems - arguing for a system of global control. Weapons that locate, select, and engage human targets without human supervision are already available for use in warfare,. Some argue that AI will reduce collateral damage and civilian casualties. Others believe it could kill on a scale not seen since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Will future wars be fought entirely by machines, or will one side surrender only when its real losses, military or civilian, become unacceptable? Professor Russell will examine the motivation of major powers developing these types of weapons, the morality of creating algorithms that decide to kill humans, and possible ways forward for the international community as it struggles with these questions.

    Stuart Russell is Professor of Computer Science and founder of the Centre for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence at the University of California, Berkeley.

    The lecture and question-and-answer session was recorded at Manchester University.
    Presenter: Anita Anand
    Producer: Jim Frank
    Editor: Hugh Levinson
    Production Coordinator: Brenda Brown

    • 57 min
    The Biggest Event in Human History

    The Biggest Event in Human History

    Stuart Russell explores the future of Artificial Intelligence and asks; how can we get our relationship with it right? Professor Russell is founder of the Centre for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence at the University of California, Berkeley. In this lecture he reflects on the birth of AI, tracing our thinking about it back to Aristotle. He outlines the definition of AI, its successes and failures, and the risks it poses for the future. Referencing the representation of AI systems in film and popular culture, Professor Russell will examine whether our fears are well founded. He will explain what led him – alongside previous Reith Lecturer Professor Stephen Hawking to say that “success would be the biggest event in human history … and perhaps the last event in human history.” Stuart will ask how this risk arises and whether it can be avoided, allowing humanity and AI to coexist successfully.

    This lecture and question-and-answer session was recorded at the Alan Turing Institute at the British Library in London.
    Presenter: Anita Anand
    Producer: Jim Frank
    Editor: Hugh Levinson
    Production Coordinator: Brenda Brown
    Sound: Neil Churchill and Hal Haines

    • 58 min
    From Climate Crisis to Real Prosperity

    From Climate Crisis to Real Prosperity

    Mark Carney, the former Governor of the Bank of England, argues that the roots of the climate change threat lie in a deeper crisis of values. He suggests that we can create an ecosystem in which society’s values broaden the market’s conceptions of value. In this way, individual creativity and market dynamism can be channelled to achieve broader social goals including, inclusive growth and environmental sustainability.

    Presenter: Anita Anand
    Producer: Jim Frank
    Editor: Hugh Levinson
    Production Coordinator: Brenda Brown
    Studio Manager: Rod Farquhar

    • 57 min
    From Covid Crisis to Renaissance

    From Covid Crisis to Renaissance

    Mark Carney, the former Governor of the Bank of England, observes that the pandemic has forced states to confront how we value health, wealth and opportunity. During the first few months of the crisis, most states chose to value human life more than the economic well-being of the nation-state. But if that seems to be changing how do we assess value in this sense?

    Dr Carney elucidates surprising differences in the financial value put on a human life in different nations – and goes on to argue that this reductionist approach fails to take into account deeper thinking about the worth of human existence.

    Presenter: Anita Anand
    Producer: Jim Frank
    Editor: Hugh Levinson

    • 57 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
127 Ratings

127 Ratings

Xingfu Tang ,

Inspired Speech

I have read all the papers written by these human's paramout intellectuals that made me think where the future lies and where I will go and How to make a better life for myself and others I even didn't know,thanks deeply for these kind people who moved this world forward unrentlessly and continuously.

Comendadordehoje ,

Mark Carney

I have loved listening to the Reith lectures over the years and they have been fantastic, so I have to say that Mark Carney doesn’t even deserve the one star I gave it. Anyone in a professional position should not have to read a lecture, much less an incoherent one. It’s excruciatingly non-sensical and dull. Thank you.

Jun Chen in May ,

Beautiful Ideas and Beautiful Voices

This channel is among my favorites for it provokes my mind from a variety of perspectives and sometimes it stimulates my appetite for books and more books. Oh, the physical world is too small to contain the vast reservoir of thought! Thank you, BBC. You are the beacon for those lost souls.

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