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Apr 20, 2016

Discussing Robot Dangers

It's funny. Until you think about it.
Oh, and now it's more like 13 years!

My increasing concern over the speed and depth of technological developments is beginning to show some little progress. Since my TED talk on The Erotic Crisis (outlining a contest between human and mechanical values), which seemed at the time like a lone cry in the wilderness when I delivered that in 2014, the subject has now become quite widely discussed in the media. Main stream media articles are appearing every day and many good books have been written about the field, (Our Final Invention and Surviving AI are two good overviews). That's good because we need to be talking about this stuff–all of us! It's nothing less than the future of humanity that hangs in the balance and we've been pretty cavalier about it for a long time now.

Meanwhile, some are working to smooth our integration with robots. RoboPsych is a website dedicated to easing the human/robot interface. If you haven't had much interaction with robots, we are all going to experience this a great deal in the next few years. This week I was interviewed by RoboPsych's founder, Tom Guarriello that was podcast on the website. Our discussion was somewhat rambling (as interviews often go) but I got across most of the main points I wanted that much of the danger we face is hidden. I won't go into it here, but essentially the greatest danger doesn't emanate from the machines but from our own underestimated vulnerabilities in interacting with them. Tom is more optimistic than I about the future, but we really need open discussions like this to come to a real understanding.

To that end I'm helping sponsor a symposium, “Tech Tsunami: Preserving the Human”, also sponsored by the Montana Universities, which will be presented at Carroll College, Helena, MT, Oct. 28-30, featuring some AI giants. It will be geared to the general public, not experts, with the intention of involving a greater number of people in the discussion of what it means to be human and what kind of future we will build for ourselves. If we don't participate, one day the robots will simply take their place at the controls. It's up to us.
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.