Artificial Intelligence: A Challenge For Mankind?

Day three of Gaidar Forum began with the Open Lecture ‘AI – A Challenge For Mankind’ under  moderation of  Anatoly Chubais, the President of Rusnano.

The depth of artificial intelligence (AI)  penetration into mankind’s life is a multiple new challenge for people. The civilization is about to choose between future opportunities and dangers.

Anatoly Chubais pointed out that AI today goes alongside with the spheres beyond imagination of previous years. AI outplayed chess and poker world champions. This is considered a great breakthrough of the area and it shows the AI to acquire more than just algorithmic features.

The chair holder of the Department for convergence of Humanities and Sciences issues, Head of the Laboratory on cognitive research, Doctor in biological sciences, Professor of the Department for General Language Science, a Board member of the Program ‘Liberal Arts and Sciences’ at St. Petersburg State University Tatyana Chernigovskaya spoke on nowadays AI challenges. She stated, “We’ve been playing technological games for too long. They represent danger of both technical and worldview manner.” She stated a question, “Is there a place for a human in this world?”

The expert elaborated that people today live in an era when a human determines the planet’s life. At the same time a paradox occurs –the achievements of industrial and information age shape the future world, both more dangerous and bringing more opportunities.   

The lecturer reminded of several theses from The Club of Rome Report dated back the end of the last year. The report describes three scenarios of the future, ‘Islands’, ‘Orbits’, and ‘Communities’. The scenarios show the way that the trends and the variants deserving attention can intercross, thus forming various ways of the future.  These scenarios give the alternative answers to short-term predictions for the following levels – National (‘Islands’), Regional (‘Orbits’) and Sub-State and Transnational (‘Communities’). ‘It is unclear if the states as powerful units will still exist or those are going to be some sort of transnational or interstate communities. This will probably be a different social formation’, the lecturer commented on scenarios. 

She elaborated there is a need in an age of new enlightenment and new principles where the whole is of more importance than a piece. Ethics and worldview wil play decisive role in the new world. 

Tatyana Chernigovskaya also pointed out that people simultaneously live in multiple surroundings: physical objects world and that of signs being brought by mentality. Out of this the lecturer underlined the importaте role of art which does not duplicate life but creates it and even builds mental objects, which will, probably, come to life in the course of time. ‘Art should not be considered as a ‘dessert’. Art is a different way of learning the world or even creating a new one.’ Underlined the lecturer.

Tatyana Chernigovskaya paid attention to genes issue. The expert pointed out that the world actively discusses what is more important – genes or environment and education. The scientist showed confidence that geniuses can only be born. However this may not show itself during life. It is important to get into the right environment and work much. 

‘Head contains a neuronal web of immense complexity. There is a supposition that we do not control our brain’, said the Professor. ‘The true picture of what people see and study is in their head. One dramatically depends on a brain. If we suggest that natural intelligence is independent of a human, so this leads to a reasonable question if it is possible to create an artificial intelligence’ 

Tatyana Chernigovskaya enumerated the following features of today’s world – fluidity, transparence, instability, hybridism, gleaming. ‘This world differes from one people lived in just five years ago. Since these processes are irreversible they acquire global meaning’, she underlined.  

In the end of the lecture the expert noted that humanity need to make a deal on how to retain the basic ideas of reality. It is time to stop and think of where the civilization came to and face the challenge of humanity’s capability to manage the new reality.


The organizers include the Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute) and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

The program outline is available at the forum website.

Participation is free; preliminary registration is required.

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