Evening Lectures - Pensacola

Ken Ford

THE TALK: On Computational Wings: The Prospects & Putative Perils of AI

January 31, 2018


After decades of pundits and philosophers arguing that AI is impossible, suddenly that argument has been replaced with the assertion that not only is it possible, but that it is inevitable, perhaps imminent, and apocalyptically dangerous. In only about a decade, the conversation has shifted from you can’t do it … to we shouldn’t do it! My purpose in this talk will be to draw your attention to an interesting historical parallel between AI and another, older, technology which was also controversial, thought to be impossible, and then deemed to be a great danger to the human race: artificial flight.


Kenneth Ford is Founder and CEO of the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC). Dr. Ford is the author of hundreds of scientific papers and six books. Dr. Ford’s research interests include: AI, human-centered computing, and human performance and resilience. Dr. Ford received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Tulane University. Ford is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, a charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, a member of the IEEE Computer Society, and a member of the National Association of Scholars. Ford has received many awards and honors including the Doctor Honoris Causas from the University of Bordeaux in 2005 and the 2008 Robert S. Englemore Memorial Award for his work in AI. In 2012 Tulane University named Ford its Outstanding Alumnus in the School of Science and Engineering. In 2015, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence named Dr. Ford the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Service Award. Also in 2015, Dr. Ford was elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2017 Dr. Ford was inducted into the Florida Inventor’s Hall of Fame.

In October of 2002, President George W. Bush nominated Dr. Ford to serve on the National Science Board and the United States Senate confirmed his nomination in March of 2003. In 2005, Dr. Ford was appointed and sworn in as a member of the Air Force Science Advisory Board. In 2007, he became a member of the NASA Advisory Council and on October 16, 2008, Dr. Ford was named as Chairman – a capacity in which he served until October 2011. In August 2010, Dr. Ford was awarded NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal – the highest honor the agency confers. In February of 2012, Dr. Ford was named to a two-year term on the Defense Science Board and in 2013, he became a member of the Advanced Technology Board which supports the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

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