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Benedetta Brevini – Is AI good for the planet?

23 February 2022 starting 6:00 pm for 6:30 pm

Free – $5

We often think of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a thing of the immediate future. We are
constantly bombarded by slogans of AI coming to change our life, whether we like it or not.
We are reassured it will be a better life. A better capitalism. A better environment. From
smart devices, to home voice assistants, image recognition and translation, AI is offered as
the solution to the greatest challenges of this age. This portrayal of AI as a benevolent deity
has a crucial effect: it obfuscates the materiality of the infrastructures and devices that are
central to its functioning. In her new book “Is AI good for the planet?” (Polity, 2021)

Benedetta Brevini asks us to think about AI in a different, and more material way than most
of us have in the past.

In all its variety of forms, AI relies on large swathes of land and sea, vast arrays of
technology, and greenhouse gas emitting machines and infrastructures that deplete scarce
resources in their production, consumption and disposal. AI also relies on data centres that
demand excessive amounts of energy, water and finite resources to compute, analyse and

Firmly situated in the critical tradition of political economy of communication, Brevini’s
work forces us to reconsider the way we look at AI. For the first time, “Is AI good for the
planet” brings the climate crisis to the centre of debates around AI developments.
Clearly, there are other important concerns about AI: from moral and ethical appeals for
caution concerning use of AI in military operations, to loss of human expertise in
safeguarding human rights (public health and the judiciary), from algorithmic racial and
gender biases to fears that AI will make human labour redundant. However, Brevini argues, if
we lose our environment, we lose our planet. So, we must understand and debate the
environmental costs of AI.


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Benedetta Brevini – 23rd February 2022: 6 for 6:30pm – Full Price
Tickets will be held at the door
$ 5.00
Benedetta Brevini – 23rd February 2022: 6 for 6:30pm – Concession
$ 2.00
Benedetta Brevini – 23rd February 2022: 6 for 6:30pm – Gleeclub
$ 0.00