The legal singularity. With Ben Alarie

The legal singularity. With Ben Alarie

The law is a promising area for AI The legal profession is rarely accused of being at the cutting edge of technological development. Lawyers may not still use quill pens, but they’re not exactly famous for their IT skills. Nevertheless, it has a number of characteristics which make it eminently suited to the deployment of advanced AI systems. Lawyers are deluged by data, and commercial law cases can be highly lucrative. One man who knows more about this than most is Benjamin Alarie, a Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and a successful entrepreneur. In 2015, he...
What’s new in Longevity? With Martin O’Dea

What’s new in Longevity? With Martin O’Dea

Martin O’Dea is the CEO of Longevity Events Limited, and the principal organiser of the annual Longevity Summit Dublin. In a past life, O’Dea lectured on business strategy at Dublin Business School. He has been keeping a close eye on the longevity space for more than ten years, and is well placed to speak about how the field is changing. O’Dea sits on a number of boards including the LEV Foundation, which was set up by Aubrey de Grey with a mission to prevent and reverse human age-related disease. O’Dea joined the London Futurists Podcast to discuss what we can...
Investing in AI, With John Cassidy

Investing in AI, With John Cassidy

Kindred Capital Venture capital is the lifeblood of technology startups, including young companies deploying advanced AI. John Cassidy is a Partner at Kindred Capital, a UK-based venture capital firm. Before he became an investment professional, he co-founded CCG.ai, a precision oncology company which he sold to Dante Labs in 2019. He joined the London Futurists Podcast to discuss how venture capital firms are approaching AI today. Kindred Capital was founded in 2015 by Mark Evans, Russell Buckley, and Leila Zegna. It has raised three funds, each of around $100 million, and is focused on early-stage investments, known in the industry...
The Death of Death. With Jose Cordeiro

The Death of Death. With Jose Cordeiro

An enthusiastic transhumanist One of the most intriguing possibilities raised by the exponential growth in the power of our technology is that within the lifetimes of people already born, death may become optional. This idea was championed with exuberant enthusiasm by Jose Cordeiro on the London Futurists Podcast. Jose Cordeiro was born in Venezuela, to parents who fled Franco’s dictatorship in Spain. He has closed the circle, by returning to Spain (via the USA) while another dictatorship grips Venezuela. His education and early career as an engineer were thoroughly blue chip – MIT, Georgetown University, INSEAD, then Schlumberger and Booz...
AI and professional services. With Shamus Rae

AI and professional services. With Shamus Rae

Collar colour Not long ago, people assumed that repetitive, blue-collar jobs would be the first to be disrupted by advancing artificial intelligence. Since the arrival of generative AI, it looks like white-collar jobs will be impacted first. Jobs like accounting, management consulting, and the law. Who would have guessed that lawyers would find themselves at the cutting edge of technology. Shamus Rae is the co-founder of Engine B, a startup which aims to expedite the digitisation of the professional services industry. It is supported by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (the ICAEW) and the main audit...
AI and new styles of learning. With David Giron

AI and new styles of learning. With David Giron

The education sector may well be impacted by advanced AI more profoundly than any other. This is partly because of the obvious potential benefit of applying more intelligence to education, and partly because education has resisted so much change in the past. 42 as the meaning of … learning David Giron is the Director of one of the world's most innovative educational institutions, 42 Codam College in Amsterdam. He was previously the head of studies at Codam's parent school 42 in Paris, which was founded in 2013, so he has now spent 10 years putting the school’s radical ideas into...
AI-developed drug breakthrough. With Alex Zhavoronkov

AI-developed drug breakthrough. With Alex Zhavoronkov

Healthcare is one of the sectors likely to see the greatest benefits from the application of advanced AI. A number of companies are now using AI to develop drugs faster, cheaper, and with fewer failures along the way. One of the leading members of this group is Insilico Medicine, which has just announced the first AI-developed drug to enter phase 2 clinical trials. Alex Zhavoronkov, co-founder of Insilico Medicine, joined the London Futurists Podcast to explain the significance of this achievement. Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis The drug in question is designed to tackle Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, or IPF. “Fibrosis” means thickening...
The Four Cs: when AIs outsmart humans

The Four Cs: when AIs outsmart humans

Startling progress On 14 March, OpenAI launched GPT-4. People who follow AI closely were stunned by its capabilities. A week later, the US-based Future of Life Institute published an open letter urging the people who run the labs creating Large Language Models (LLMs) to declare a six-month moratorium, so that the world could make sure this increasingly powerful technology is safe. The people running those labs – notably Sam Altman of OpenAI and Demis Hassabis of Google DeepMind – have called for government regulation of their industry, but they are not declaring a moratorium. What’s all the fuss about? Is...
GPT-4 and education. With Donald Clark

GPT-4 and education. With Donald Clark

Aristotle for everyone The launch of GPT-4 in March has provoked concerns and searching questions, and nowhere more so than in the education sector. Last month, the share price of US edutech company Chegg halved when its CEO admitted that GPT technology was a threat to its business model. Looking ahead, GPT models seem to put flesh on the bones of the idea that all students could have a personal tutor as effective as Aristotle, who was Alexander the Great’s personal tutor. When that happens, students should leave school and university far, far better educated than we did. Donald Clark...
GPT-4 and the EU’s AI Act. With John Higgins

GPT-4 and the EU’s AI Act. With John Higgins

The EU AI Act The European Commission and Parliament were busily debating the Artificial Intelligence Act when GPT-4 launched on 14 March. The AI Act was proposed in 2021. It does not confer rights on individuals, but instead regulates the providers of artificial intelligence systems. It is a risk-based approach. John Higgins joined the London Futurists Podcast to discuss the AI Act. He is the Chair of Global Digital Foundation, a think tank, and last year he was president of BCS (British Computer Society), the professional body for the UK’s IT industry. He has had a long and distinguished career...
Longevity, a $56 trillion opportunity. With Andrew Scott

Longevity, a $56 trillion opportunity. With Andrew Scott

In unguarded moments, politicians occasionally wish that retired people would "hurry up and die", on account of the ballooning costs of pensions and healthcare. Andrew J Scott confronts this attitude in his book, “The 100-Year Life”, which has been sold a million copies in 15 languages, and was runner up in both the FT/McKinsey and Japanese Business Book of the Year Awards. Scott joined the London Futurists Podcast to discuss his arguments. Scott is a professor of economics at the London Business School, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research, and a consulting scholar at Stanford University’s...
How to use GPT-4 yourself. With Ted Lappas

How to use GPT-4 yourself. With Ted Lappas

The last few episodes of the London Futurists Podcast have explored what GPT (generative pre-trained transformer) technology is and how it works, and also the call for a pause in the development of advanced AI. In the latest episode, Ted Lappas, a data scientist and academic, helps us to understand what GPT technology can do for each of us individually. Lappas is Assistant Professor at Athens University of Economics and Business, and he also works at Satalia, which was London's largest independent AI consultancy before it was acquired last year by the media giant WPP. Head start Lappas uses GPTs...
GPT: to ban or not to ban? That is the question

GPT: to ban or not to ban? That is the question

OpenAI launched GPT-4 on 14th March, and its capabilities were shocking to people within the AI community and beyond. A week later, the Future of Life Institute (FLI) published an open letter calling on the world’s leading AI labs to pause the development of even larger GPT (generative pre-trained transformer) models until their safety can be ensured. Geoff Hinton went so far as to resign from Google in order to be free to talk about the risks. Recent episodes of the London Futurists Podcast have presented the arguments for and against this call for a moratorium. Jaan Tallinn, one of...
Evomics deploys AI and nuclear medicine in the fight against cancer

Evomics deploys AI and nuclear medicine in the fight against cancer

AI and nuclear medicine Some of the most innovative uses of artificial intelligence in healthcare today are in the field of nuclear medicine, and thanks to AI, nuclear medicine is demonstrating great potential for cancer treatment. There are around 20 million new cancer cases a year, and around 10 million deaths, which is around one in six of all deaths. The problem, and therefore the opportunity, is vast. One of the leading companies in the field is Evomics, based in Shanghai and Vienna. It is using the same technology to develop both diagnostics and therapies, and it has ambitious plans...
The AI suicide race. With Jaan Tallinn

The AI suicide race. With Jaan Tallinn

From Skype to Safe AI In the 1990s and early noughties, Jaan Tallinn led much of the software engineering for the file-sharing application Kazaa and the online communications tool Skype. He was also one of the earliest investors in DeepMind, before they were acquired by Google. Since then, he has been a prominent advocate for study of existential risks, including the risks from artificial superintelligence. He joined the London Futurists Podcast to discuss the recent calls for a pause in the development of advanced AI systems. Two Cambridge XRisk organisations In the previous decade, Tallinn co-founded not one but two...
Is AGI possible? With Kenn Cukier

Is AGI possible? With Kenn Cukier

Most media coverage of AI is weak The launch of the large language model known as GPT-4 has re-ignited the debate about where AI is going, and how fast. A paper by some researchers at Microsoft (which is the major investor in OpenAI, the creator of GPT-4) claimed to detect in GPT-4 some sparks of AGI – artificial general intelligence, a system with all the cognitive abilities of an adult human. The Future of Humanity Institute, an organisation based at MIT that studies existential risks, published an open letter calling for a six-month pause in the development of advanced AI....
Against pausing AI research. With Pedro Domingos

Against pausing AI research. With Pedro Domingos

Should AI research be paused? Is advanced artificial intelligence reaching the point where it could result in catastrophic damage? Is a slow-down desirable, given that AI can also lead to very positive outcomes, including tools to guard against the worst excesses of other applications of AI? And even if a slow-down is desirable, is it practical? Professor Pedro Domingos of the University of Washington is best known for his book "The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World". It describes five different "tribes" of AI researchers, each with their own paradigms, and it...
What do professional futurists do? With Nikolas Badminton

What do professional futurists do? With Nikolas Badminton

GPT-4 has got people interested in the future again We're only a few weeks into 2023, but there has been a sea-change in the thinking of many business people regarding the future. GPT-4 and similar systems look likely to usher in major changes to the way many of us work and play, and they will probably have significant impacts on markets, economies, politics, and international relations. How can businesses become more effective in anticipating and managing these changes in their business landscapes? A new book which addresses this question of managing rapid change is Nikolas Badminton’s "Facing our Futures: How...