It is often said that while history doesn’t repeat itself, it does rhyme. Many lives have been upended by recent digital technologies, and emerging technologies like generative Artificial Intelligence and gene-editing offer new tantalizing and terrifying powers that could change the world in ways we can barely imagine. Today’s social disruption by new technologies is not new, but it is unique.

Paulo Ribeiro, of the Barnard College Design Center, will address such questions as: How far can understanding historical precedent take us when technological growth is exponential? Unfulfilled prophecies of technological doom or salvation have a long history, but are new emerging technologies powerful enough to fundamentally upset society? While the impact of new technologies often defies prediction, an understanding of history, social psychology, and philosophy can be useful to provide a course of action.

Paulo Ribeiro