Vienna Gödel Lecture 2019: Get ready for AI

Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) an “existential threat to humanity”, as Elon Musk has put it? What kind of impact will AI have on society, jobs, privacy and other items like weapons? In this year’s Gödel Lecture, hosted by the Faculty of Informatics on 4 June 2019, American computer scientist Oren Etzioni from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) will address these issues.

In memory of Kurt Gödel

Named after the famous Austrian-American logician, mathematician and philosopher Kurt Gödel (1906-1978) and introduced in 2013, the Vienna Gödel Lectures bring world-class scientists to Vienna. The lecture series illustrates the fundamental and disruptive contribution of computer science to our information society. It investigates how our discipline explains and shapes the world we live in—and thereby our lives as such. Since Donald E. Knuth from Caltech, one of the most influential computer scientists, gave the series’ inaugural lecture in 2013, we invited some of the most distinguished scientists to give the annual lecture.

Expert on AI

In this year’s lecture, we have the honour to present Oren Etzioni, Chief Executive Officer of the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and longterm professor at the University of Washington’s Computer Science department. Award-winning scientist Oren Etzioni has also been the founder and co-founder of several companies including Farecast (sold to Microsoft in 2008) and Decide (sold to eBay in 2013). He regularly writes commentary on AI for the New York Times, Nature and the MIT Technology Review.
The Allen Institute was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2014 – its mission reads “to contribute to humanity through high-impact AI research and engineering.”

Be prepared

Oren Etzioni and his team at this research institute try taking a result-oriented approach to the complex challenges in AI. How should we think about Artificial Intelligence and its progress in recent years? Does AI really threaten humanity, or will it be a source of beneficial technology? These are the issues being addressed, and these are the questions Oren Etzioni will talk about in his lecture. Without being alarmistic, we should sound the alarm and look at the consequences that AI brings for democracy, security and society. Because one thing, as Oren sees it, is quite clear: “[…] A.I. is coming. Society needs to get ready.”

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