On the surface, an Indian doctor, a British poet, an UberEats courier in Pittsburgh, and a Chinese activist in exile have nothing in common. But they are in fact linked by a profound common experience―unexpected encounters with artificial intelligence. In her debut book Code Dependent, shortlisted for the inaugural Women’s Prize for Non-fiction 2024, Madhumita Murgia shows how automated systems are reshaping our lives all over the world, from technology that marks children as future criminals, to an app that is helping to offer medical diagnoses to a remote tribal community.

By highlighting the voices of ordinary people in places far removed from the cozy enclave of Silicon Valley, Madhumita explores the impact of this often-exploitative technology on individuals, communities, and our wider society.

Vidushi Marda, a lawyer and researcher, specialises in examining the socio-legal ramifications of data-driven technologies. Her research centers on technology regulation, asymmetric power dynamics, and fundamental rights. Through her endeavors, she collaborates with governments, corporations, and technical communities to promote social justice.

Together, they will discuss and unpack how AI can strip away our collective and individual sense of agency, and shatter our illusion of free will. AI has already infiltrated our day-to-day, through language-generating chatbots like ChatGPT and social media. But it’s also affecting us in more insidious ways. It touches everything from our interpersonal relationships, to our kids’ education, work, finances, public services, and even our human rights. It is already changing what it means to be human, in ways large and small, and Madhumita and Vidushi reveal what could happen if we fail to reclaim our humanity.

In this episode of BIC Talks, Author – Madhumita Murgia is in conversation with the Lawyer and Researcher – Vidushi Marda. This is an excerpt from a conversation that took place in the BIC premises in May 2024.

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