Field: (As a wearer of many hats, my background is in Healthcare & Research but in x-risk….
Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS))
Position & Organization: Director, Scientists Against Inhumane Weapons (SAIWE)
How did you get started in this field? As a physician and entrepreneur, I felt a deep moral responsibility to help ensure that the research we do as a scientific community, and the companies we create around the resulting technologies, are used for the betterment of humanity. Through that lens, I became deeply concerned that we scientists were not doing enough to curtail the hijacking of our work for evil purposes.
What do you like about your work? The ability to help address existential risks is pretty much my ultimate definition of fulfilling! My current focus is on urgently banning lethal autonomous weapons. If we don’t get this right, there are imminent dire humanitarian consequences and long term the inability to obtain global consensus that algorithms should not autonomously kill would be a pretty devastating blow to getting AI value alignment right.
What do you not like about your work? Whether speaking from my work in healthcare, business, or x-risk: prevention and long term thinking are tremendous challenges for engagement. As a species we’re not well-wired for it, so getting creative about how to translate potential futures into imminent realities is key.
Do you have any advice for women who want to enter this field? Please do!!! I was a little intimidated at first, as my medical background was not a traditional one. At its heart x-risk mitigation is a tremendously optimistic field trying to steer our collective future away from disaster and towards a positive, equitable and inclusive one. That’s why we need the steering team to reflect the diverse perspectives of that goal utopia.
What makes you hopeful for the future? I’m a pretty optimistic person at baseline, but particularly so after getting to know the incredible people that compose the x-risk community. They care so deeply about engineering a positive future for humanity — I feel tremendously grateful to have the opportunity to work with them!