November 23, 2024

Baratunde Thurston

Artificial Intelligence: What Is Real?

Uncover what it will mean to be human as we barrel toward a more digitally integrated future fueled by new technologies like AI.

Artificial Intelligence: What Is Real? 

November 23, 2024

The future is coming fast. New technologies like artificial intelligence offer inspiration and the promise of removing burdensome tasks from our daily lives. However, their rapid and seemingly unchecked development prompts concerns about consent, control, and compensation, and industrialized creativity threatens to flood the zone with nonsensical content. As we barrel toward a more digitally integrated future, what will it mean to be human? Writer, producer, and comedian Baratunde Thurston will explore whether our obsession with these technologies has us wandering too far from our essential human nature and challenge us to shape a future where we balance commercial and humanitarian interests. 

Format: Speech with Audience Q&A

“A.I. will be like a performance enhancing drug, and we have to decide if we’re OK using it and under what conditions. There will always be a niche community of resistant old-schoolers and landliners and vinyl fans, but the vast majority go where the momentum is.”

– Baratunde Thurston

About Baratunde Thurston

Baratunde Thurston is an Emmy-nominated multi-platform storyteller and producer operating at the intersection of race, technology, democracy, and climate. He is the host of the PBS television series “America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston,” the creator and host of “How To Citizen with Baratunde” (which Apple named one of its favorite podcasts of 2020), and a founding partner of the new media startup Puck.

Thurston uses his unique ability to integrate and synthesize themes of race, culture, politics, and technology to explain where our nation is — and where we can take it. At Puck, he regularly writes about new developments in artificial intelligence and their implications across different industries, individuals, and the culture at large. He has appeared and shared these insights on numerous podcasts, including The Progress Network’s “What Could Go Right?” and Techmeme’s “Ride Home.” Thurston has also interviewed dozens of tech leaders on the Webby Award-nominated web series “Lenovo Late Night IT.”

His comedic memoir “How to Be Black” is a New York Times bestseller. In 2019, he delivered his speech “How to Deconstruct Racism, One Headline at a Time,” which MSNBC’s Brian Williams called “one of the greatest TED Talks of all time.” Previously, Thurston co-founded the Black political blog Jack and Jill Politics, was the director of digital for The Onion, and served as the supervising producer for digital expansion for “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” In 2020, he produced the six-part podcast series “We’re Having A Moment.”

Thurston serves on the boards of and the Brooklyn Public Library. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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