Status: Wait List

Exploring Artificial Intelligence

Are we living in the midst of a special evolutionary moment?

Fall 2023
Monday Morning
Moderator: Kevin Foley



The seminar’s purpose is to examine and experience the phenomenon of artificial intelligence broadly and specifically. We will seek to appreciate A.I.’s benefits and potential dangers through studying its application in a variety of sectors.


The ten-week seminar will begin with an introduction to A.I. followed by a discussion of our current understanding, our excitement, our fears. The following eight weeks will feature presentations by participants on a variety of chosen topics, including A.I. influence in finance, cyber security, military defense, space exploration, medical research, healthcare delivery, criminal justice system, transportation, education, arts, business operations, government, and surveillance as well as ethical, and philosophical issues. The expectation is that each session will explore one topic, leaving room for questions, discussions, and debate. Participants will have a say in the design of the sessions. The final session will be a comparison of early impressions versus new thoughts after the presentations.

ROLE OF PARTICIPANTS: Each participant will be expected to make a Zoom presentation and lead a discussion, either individually or with a partner. Use of A.I.–driven tools (such as ChatGBT) will be encouraged.

The moderator will provide an assortment of essays and video links on preparation for the seminar. Thinkers such as Stuart Russell, Nick Bostrom, Ezra Klein, Kevin Roose, and Cade Metz will be included. Participants will no doubt provide material as their research evolves.

ABOUT THE MODERATOR: Kevin Foley is a three-year LIR member serving as co-chair of the communications committee and chair of the ad hoc website committee. He was a public relations executive and consultant and an editor of a weekly newspaper.

The seminar will be in part an examination of some of the ways AI is transforming various aspects of human life. It will also address the recent introduction of ChatGPT and similar iterations and the potential for generative AI to upend the economic and political landscape. And the
seminar will contemplate the possibility of super intelligence moving beyond human capability to control it.

The first session will involve introductions, discussion of AI terms and areas of interest and participants views on AI as we begin to learn from each other. Participants will be encouraged to keep track of their views and how they (possibly) change over our ten weeks together.

Subject to participant input, approximately seven sessions will include one presentation by one or more participants on a selected topic area in
the first hour with time for questions related to the specific topic.

The second half of each seminar session will include informed discussion by participants (prompted by a participant and/or the moderator) regarding the political, philosophical, moral, and other implications for humans as another intelligence grows around us. This discussion may center on the first half presentation or a related topic or a larger question. What does it mean to be human in the midst of an apparent evolutionary event will be a recurring question throughout the seminar.

(Potential) Topic areas:
Medical research/healthcare delivery
National security/defense
Criminal justice
Space exploration
The Singularity

The moderator will suggest reading, viewing and listening materials when participants are selected for the seminar.

The moderator is not an AI expert. He is an interested explorer seeking companions to go deeper in the forest. His professional background is in public relations, communications consulting and community journalism; all skills AI is enhancing and will eventually take over.