Future Tense is the citizen’s guide to the future. A partnership among Arizona State University, Slate and the New America Foundation, Future Tense explores emerging technologies and their transformative effects on society and public policy.
We are in an era of existential fear of technology. Luminaries like Bill Joy, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking have warned against emerging technologies, especially artificial intelligence. Musk, for example, has warned that AI is “summoning the demons,” and Hawking has claimed that “[T]he development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” More than 20,000 AI researchers to-date have signed an open letter arguing that “Starting a military AI arms race is a bad idea, and should be prevented by a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.” Human Rights Watch among others has launched a campaign against “killer robots,” while the U.N. is increasingly active in reviewing the technology.