The Language of the Possible

  • Jennifer KeatingEmail author
  • Illah Nourbakhsh
Part of the Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics book series (STAR, volume 130)


Our particular moment in history, and the coming two decades, are likely to yield dramatic shifts in relationships between human populations on individual and national scales, as we navigate our relationships to and with intelligent machines and tools. Without a language to articulate the shifts in these relationships, legislation to regulate and protect human dignity, and sensitivity to the myriad of necessary translations across language systems and cultural contexts, we will face grave difficulties. In this paper, we introduce an experimental teaching project that focused on building a common lexicon amongst budding humanists and technologists at Carnegie Mellon University: Artificial Intelligence & Humanity. Our goal was to develop a shared language through lines of inquiry that explore the societal impact of Artificial Intelligence and robotics on contemporary society.


Artificial intelligence Humanity Language Education Teaching project 


  1. 1.
    Nourbakhsh, I., Keating, J.: AI & Humanity. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA (2020)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Williams, R.: Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. Oxford University Press, USA (1985[1976])Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    MacCabe, C., et al.: Key Words for Today forthcoming, Oxford University Press (2018). In: McDermott, D. Artificial intelligence meets natural stupidity. ACM SIGART Bulletin, Issue 57, pp. 4–9. ACM New York, NY (1976)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    “Wording Robotics” press materials—Wording Robotics, the 4th Workshop of Anthropomorphic Motion Factory, LAAS-CNRS., 30 Nov–1 Dec 2017
  5. 5.
    McDermott, D.: Artificial intelligence meets natural stupidity. ACM SIGART Bulletin, Issue 57, pp. 4–9. ACM New York, NY (1976)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gaudin, S.: IBM: In 5 years, Watson A.I. will be behind your every decision. Computerworld, 27 Oct 2016Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Stedman, I.: IBM Watson is better at diagnosing cancer than human doctors. Wired, 11 Feb 2013Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Orwell, G.: The Politics of Language. Horizon, London (1946)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Powell, R.: Plowing the Dark. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY (2000)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Capek, K.: Rossum’s Universal Robot. Penguin Classics, NY (2004)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kurtzwei, R.: The Singularity is Near. Penguin Books, NY (2006)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations