Hannah Fry – ATOM Science Festival

March 22, 2019

Hannah Fry is a Mathematician, whose speciality is mathematics and human behaviour. She is best known for her television documentaries, and recently got an award for her contributions to the public understanding of mathematics. She came to Abingdon this evening to give a talk to a packed Amey Theatre on ‘How to be Human in the Age of the Machine’ – part of the ATOM Science Festival.

The talk went through many examples where machines make decisions in real life. She talked about algorithms – that is where a machine decision is based on set rules. She also spoke about Artificial Intelligence (AI) where the machine has the ability to learn. There was the example of a Judge making a custodial sentence decision verses an algorithm. The Judge might be inconsistent at times and subject to human idiosyncrasies. The algorithm is consistent but does not understand concepts such as fairness and justice and so can go awry. She went through other examples such as generating music, disease detection, driverless cars, identifying images. In a question and answer sessions she also talked about some of the ethical issues. One conclusion was that machines work best where we as humans question their decisions, and correct their mistakes.

After the talk Hannah signed copes of her book Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine.

Filed under: Science

2 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. Horsesmouth  |  March 23, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Went to the exhibition on the market place today, what an amazing event! It must be unique and hats off to everyone who organised it, of course it’s far to late for a silly old fart like me to contemplate a career in any of that, but what an inspirational event for our young ones?
    Meanwhile back in the world of a glass of red we were invited to the preview night of the new “Tipsy Mercer” in High st, really really good, it’s not a pub, it’s a wine bar and a good one at that, good luck with that !

  • 2. Iain  |  March 24, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Family science day at the Yang Centre at Abingdon School with 20-25 organisations with science based activities for all ages. Runs from 11-3 followed by family science show at amey theatre.

    All free and should be a really good finale to this years festival.

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