As Tesla develops its humanoid robot and Facebook — sorry, now Meta — rebrands to signal its focus on the metaverse and an even more virtual world, some might continue to wonder whether an Armageddon that will have artificial intelligence overpowering humans is a possibility. But the novelist Jeanette Winterson is more optimistic. Her more utopian view of an A.I.-enabled future depends on more compassionate technologies and the diversification of the leaders driving innovation, who she says are currently “rich guys with a lot of power, and we can’t depend on their benevolence.”
In this conversation, Kara Swisher and Winterson discuss her latest book, “12 Bytes,” and some of the ways that A.I. will change how we think, love and live. They delve into why Winterson thinks sex bots are the enemy of progress, Silicon Valley’s obsession with immortality and how A.I. might change how we die and grieve. And they discuss Mark Zuckerberg, with Winterson saying there’s “nothing in his history that suggests he can manage billions of people on the planet using his social media tool.”
(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
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“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Matt Kwong, Daphne Chen and Caitlin O’Keefe and edited by Nayeema Raza; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Mahima Chablani.