Welcome to the March edition of Humanistically Speaking.
Our theme this month is Artificial Intelligence and Robots. Mike Flood, Chair of Milton Keynes Humanists and Chair of the Future of Humanism Group has been raising the alarm about AI for some time. Now I know why! I may be biased, but I think our writers and contributors this month, including the AI chatbot called ChatGPT, have done an outstanding job at informing us about AI from every conceivable angle. I'm especially pleased to see a humanist profile of Alan Turing whose work in the 20th century helped to lay the foundations for modern computers and AI. But less happy to see him quoted as saying that 'At some stage, we should expect the machines to take control.' Daniel Dancey treats us to an absurd vision of the future in which an AI machine decides to do that by converting the entire universe to paperclips. How could we stop it?
I welcome the new, up-to-date textbook for schools and universities called Understanding Humanism. The book is excellent, but it did leave me with some questions about the identity, bias, and possible blind-spots of humanism. I explore these questions in my response to the book. Please send me your views.
I hope that you will enjoy our offerings this month and that we will succeed in deepening and broadening your knowledge of our chosen topic. As always, we look forward to hearing from you if you have an opinion, or comment, or news to share.
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