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OK, GOOGLE: DEFINE HUMAN EXISTENCE

Why tech companies need philosophers—and how I convinced Google to hire them

Reuters/Dado Ruvic
What does AI mean for human exceptionalism?
  • Tobias Rees
By Tobias Rees

Founding director, Transformations of the Human Program, the Berggruen Institute

I have spent the better half of the last two years trying to convince companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, DeepMind, and OpenAI that they need to hire philosophers.

My colleagues and I—a small collective of academics that make up a program called Transformations of the Human at the Los Angeles-based think tank called the Berggruen Institute—think that the research carried out by these companies has been disrupting the very concept of the human that we—in the West particularly—have taken for granted for almost half a millennium.

It’s not only that, though. These companies have helped create realities that we can no longer navigate with the old understanding of what it means to be human.

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