In the latest episode of Laser Focused, Renette Youssef interviews acclaimed British writer, Jeanette Winterson CBE. Jeanette began her literary journey with her debut novel, “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit,” in 1985. Over the span of nearly four decades, she has written more than 20 books, exploring various genres from fiction and non-fiction to screenplays. Her latest book, “12 Bytes,” delves into the intricate world of technology and artificial intelligence (AI), drawing historical lines from Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” to the innovative hubs of Silicon Valley.
Here’s a quick look into their chat.
The Intersection of Humanity and AI
Jeanette’s passion and curiosity for the evolving world serve as the foundation of her book. She argues that technology, especially AI, has become one of the most pressing challenges that humanity faces today, second only to climate breakdown. AI is not merely a tool but an entity that’s rewriting the course of history, with the potential to become sentient and reshape societal norms.
She introduces an interesting terminology, preferring to call it “alternative intelligence” rather than “artificial intelligence.” Jeanette believes that this term captures the essence of AI, which might soon coexist with humans as an alternative species.
A Historical Perspective: Learning from Our Past
One of the standout moments from their conversation was Jeanette’s emphasis on understanding our past to navigate the future. Drawing parallels between the first industrial revolution and today’s AI-driven era, she highlighted that both periods faced the challenge of job displacement due to technological advancements. However, instead of succumbing to these disruptions, societies can learn from historical lessons and create a more equitable system. With tech promising abundance, the pressing question remains: how can we equitably distribute resources?
The Role of Governments and Corporations
Governments and tech companies must collaborate to create a harmonious future. While governments are traditionally slower to adapt, they play a crucial role in protecting citizen rights and ensuring a fair distribution of resources. Taxation of tech giants is one of the strategies Jeanette believes can bring more equity to the system.
PhysicsX: Pioneering Change through Tech
Highlighting solutions for a brighter future, Jeanette discusses her involvement with PhysicsX, a technology company that uses advanced computer-aided engineering (CAE) and machine learning to significantly accelerate physics simulations, enabling new opportunities for optimization in engineering design, manufacturing, and control. But above all else, Jeanette believes the company has a strong moral compass and commitment to use its technology to “do good”.
Furthermore, Jeanette views companies like PhysicsX as game-changers, leading the charge in showcasing the untapped potential of renewable energy solutions.
Listen to the Full Episode
The latest episode of Laser Focused offers listeners an enriching perspective on the crossroads of humanity and AI. Jeanette Winterson’s insights bridge historical lessons with modern challenges, presenting a roadmap for a balanced future where technology and humanity coexist harmoniously. If these highlights piqued your interest, be sure to download and listen to the full episode—you won’t regret it!
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