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Artificial Intelligence 2017 - Background Readings

This collection of reading materials was created to prepare participants for the 2017 Aspen Institute Roundtable on Artificial Intelligence by providing an overview of and background information on the topic.  The selection of readings includes an introduction to the topic and implications of AI systems on the traditional construct of personal autonomy. It is not intended to be a comprehensive collection of materials on the topic, but rather an overview of subjects relevant to the 2017 Dialogue.


David Berreby, “Personal Autonomy is Evaporating: Should We Care,” 2016.

Section I: Rising Tensions: Values of Individualism and Collectivism

John Stuart Mills, On Liberty (Excerpts). 1859.

Isaiah Berlin, “Essay IV: The One and the Many,” Two Concepts of Liberty. Oxford University Press. 1969.

Ursula Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” The Wind's Twelve Quarters: Short Stories. 1973.

Section II: Challenges & Opportunities for Autonomy in the Era of AI      

Marina Oshana, “How Much Should We Value Autonomy?” Social Philosophy and Policy. 2003.

Frank Pasquale, “The Algorithmic Self,” The Hedgehog Review: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Culture. Spring 2015.

Section III: Artificial Intelligence & the Rise of the Human

Steven Levy, “We Are Entering the Era of the Brain Machine Interface,” April 22, 2017.

Kelsey Atherton, “Facebook is hiring 3000 new content monitors for a job AI cannot do,” Popular Science. May 4, 2017.

Section IV: Role of Institutions and the Future of Governance

Isaac Asimov, “Franchise,”1995.

Shannon Vallor, “Lessons from Isaac Asimov’s Multivac,” The Atlantic. May 2, 2017.

Matt Simon. “Who Will Pay for the Future, If Not Robots?” May 30, 2017.