Influencing Science Fiction? How?


By Ayisha Piotti | February 2020 | Article


It’s an unusually warm sunny day in February and I feel slightly guilty enjoying the flowers in my garden, knowing that they are here prematurely.  Then I open the paper to read about tiny living robots made from frog cells that can potentially swim in our arteries to scrape out plaque. Its cited as a great example of how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being successfully used to create “novel living machines” to help us.  I am reminded of a scary science fiction movie when the article mentions how these robots, when sliced up, can stitch themselves back and continue moving!

At this moment, I can’t help but think of my children’s lives 20 years from now and ask myself two questions: What will be the state of our planet when they grow up; and how will their lives be affected by technology in the years to come? 

The debate around saving our planet is already quite hot & many actors are already involved in building awareness & implementing solutions in this area for some time. I therefore choose to focus on my second question, which is around novel technologies, in particular Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Anyone who reads the news knows that breakthroughs in AI are coming fast & furious. AI developments promise miracle leaps forward in everything from healthcare, transportation, climate change, space travel to business efficiency. However, they also present unprecedented challenges in terms of privacy, transparency, cybersecurity, consumer rights and ethics. 

In my opinion, AI will progress & be deployed faster than people’s intuitions would suggest. At the same time, ethics & regulatory practices that will guide us in this application will be key in defining the future of our generations to come.  And this is where we all come in. We must ask ourselves what each of us has to do now to ensure that we build a future for our kids that we want.

Whilst there are many options on how we can contribute, one avenue often overlooked is to ensure that we actively participate in the debate surrounding governance.  Governance is a strong tool that can help maximise the benefits of ground breaking technologies such as AI, while responding to societal challenges that touch us all. This is what the RegHorizon community is all about. 

Join us to shape an optimal & sustainable future through innovative policy solutions, and ensure that the science fiction scenarios are not so scary after all!