The Science of the Predicted Human talk series: Professor Joanna Bryson

TITLE: Public Goods Investment, Human Cooperation, and Political Polarisation – Does AI Play a Role?

ABSTRACT: Cooperation is absolutely as natural as competition – there are no single-gene organisms. When then do we cooperate, and when compete? I will review evidence from both micro and political economics about contexts in which humans (and other organisms) switch between these strategies, then show models and supporting data that economic context much more so than social media use influences affective polarisation – attitudes towards outgroups. Nevertheless, social media is useful both for disseminating polarised positions to those affectively polarised, and for identifying and targeting individuals ripe for manipulation. If time permits I will briefly describe how the EU's recent digital legislation addresses the problems of the predicted human.

BIOGRAPHY: Joanna J. Bryson is an academic recognised for broad expertise on intelligence, its nature, and its consequences. Holding two degrees each in psychology and AI (BA Chicago, MSc & MPhil Edinburgh, PhD MIT), Bryson is since 2020 the Professor of Ethics and Technology at Hertie School in Berlin, where she is a founding member of the Centre for Digital Governance. From 2002-2019 she was Computer Science faculty at the University of Bath; she has also been affiliated with Harvard Psychology, Oxford Anthropology, The Mannheim Centre for Social Science Research, The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, and the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy. Bryson advises governments, corporations, and NGOs globally, particularly on AI policy. Her research has appeared in venues ranging from reddit to Science. It presently focuses on the impacts of technology on human societies and cooperation, and improving governance of AI and digital technology.