As Singapore transforms itself into a ‘Smart Nation’, it is investing into the notion of artificial intelligence in a big way. Crucial questions remain unexplored – is this move to embrace AI a good thing? What makes the human mind different from the automated mind? How will AI complement and or displace human capabilities? This panel discussion seeks to open up these questions by engaging contributors from The Birthday Book, whose essays examine human sentience and ethics in one form or another, and offer different routes into the apprehension of AI as a mode of living.

SUTD’s very own Dr. Nazry Bahrawi argues that we should embrace the natural human propensity to imagine: his premise is that Singapore’s success was borne not out of pragmatism but the pursuit of big dreams. Poet Theophi Kwek makes the case for the continuing importance of human kindness in his essay on Singapore’s migration policy on refugees. The panelists will be joined by Dr. Gemma Roig, Assistant Professor at SUTD, who brings her insights as a researcher of AI, computational vision and deep learning.

There will be a book sale at the event if you’d like to purchase a copy of The Birthday Book.

About the Speakers

Dr. Nazry Bahrawi is a humanities lecturer at SUTD specialising in the study of world literature, translation studies, as well as Islam and culture between the Middle East and South-east Asia. He is an associate editor of the Critical Muslim journal published in the UK, and has translated two Singaporean Malay literary works into English.

Theophilus Kwek is a writer and researcher based in Singapore. Having recently completed an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, he has written about migration and other social issues for IRIN, The Diplomat, South China Morning Post, and the Singapore Policy Journal. Other poems, translations, and essays have appeared in The Guardian, The Philosophical Salon, EuropeNow, and The London Magazine.

Dr. Gemma Roig is an Assistant Professor at SUTD in the ISTD pillar. She was postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Center for Brains Minds and Machines. She researches on computational models of human vision to understand its underlying principles, and to use those models to build applications of artificial intelligence.

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