Servants, Partners or Masters? The Future of the Human/Machine Interface

August 26, 2015

6:30pm - 8:00pm

Santa Monica


Jerry Kaplan, entrepreneur, author and futurist
John Markoff, Pulitzer Prize-winning technology reporter for the New York Times




Is a world with robotic vehicles, robotic surgery and robotic manufacturing a better world? What about a world with robotic nursing, robotic soldiers and robotic corporate bosses? The distance between these technological stages may be shorter than you expect. Machines are fast becoming more able, more useful and more sophisticated, their learning capacities expanding and their senses sharpening. When they inevitably assume roles that once required judgment and emotion, what ethical standards, if any, will guide their actions? As they proliferate in the economy, who will they work for, and how will all those superfluous humans pay their bills?

These and other unnerving questions are explored by tech luminaries Jerry Kaplan and John Markoff in their new books, Kaplan's "Humans Need Not Apply” and Markoff's “Machines of Loving Grace.” At this Milken Institute Forum, they discussed the technological turning point that will program either discord or harmony into our future. Artificial intelligence is certain to transform the world economy and the way work is done. These authors answered some of the riddles posed by this amazing and alarming phenomenon.


Kaplan lores
Photo: Todd Rafalovich
Jerry Kaplan is a serial entrepreneur, technological innovator, bestselling author and futurist. He co-founded four Silicon Valley startup companies, two of which were publicly traded. His 1995 book "Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure" was named one of the top 10 business books by Businessweek magazine. The co-inventor of many products, among them the PenPoint tablet operating system and the GO computer, Kaplan is named on 12 U.S. patents. A frequent public speaker, Kaplan teaches philosophy, ethics, and the impact of artificial intelligence at Stanford University and is a fellow at the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania.
loresAuthor Photo2. John Markoff Please Credit Leslie Terzian Markoff
Photo: Leslie Terzian Markoff
John Markoff covers Silicon Valley and technology for the New York Times. In 2013, he was part of the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. A technology and science reporter since 1977, Markoff has written several books, most recently "Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots." Earlier he published "What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry." He has also been a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley School of Journalism and an adjunct faculty member of the Stanford Graduate Program in Journalism. Markoff earned a master's in sociology from the University of Oregon.

"Humans Need Not Apply” and “Machines of Loving Grace” will be for sale after the Forum, and the authors will be available to sign copies.

This event is open to the public, although registration is required. Reserved seating is available for Milken Institute Associates. If you are not currently a member of the Associates and would like to join or receive more information, click here. Parking is not available at the Institute. Free parking for 90 minutes is available in Public Parking Lot No. 1 on Fourth Street, adjacent to our building.

This Forum is part of our effort to present multiple perspectives on current business and public policy issues. Videotaping, recording or photographing this event is prohibited without the prior approval of the Milken Institute.