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Artificial Artificial Intelligence: In conversation with Allan McCay

27 June 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm AEST

Brain concept on blue background

Join us online for a conversation with Dr Allan McCay on AI, neurotechnology and the future of law.

Join Dr Allan McCay, Deputy Director of The Sydney Institute of Criminology and an Academic Fellow at the University of Sydney’s Law School, in conversation about his work on AI, neurotechnology and the future of law with ADM+S Research Fellow Dr Ash Watson.

McCay’s diverse scholarship examines the ways that emerging neurotechnologies may challenge and expand the criminal law. Leaping from applications which aim treat conditions such as epilepsy through neural electrical stimulation, speculative designs include implants with the capacity to prevent deviant behaviours and augment memories. McCay’s work highlights how the virtual reality of The Matrix has clear parallels with current experiments testing such designs that result in hallucinating mice.

His short story ‘Vulcan’ (2023, Bits/Bytes/Dreams) constructs a fantasy descent from the current rise in everyday automation technologies. Set in a future liberated from the burden of decisions, the story is animated by weighty themes of choice, agency and companionship. It features in Bits/Bytes/Dreams, a new anthology of sociological fiction on the theme of tomorrow’s technologies. Fourteen short stories, drawn from the archives of So Fi Zine and Fiction @ The Sociological Review, together explore pressing sociotechnical issues and reimagine the digital future. Bits/Bytes/Dreams is openly accessible online.

About the speakers

Allan McCay

Dr Allan McCay

Formerly a commercial litigator, McCay was named by Australasian Lawyer as one of the most influential lawyers of 2021 for his work on neurotechnology and the law. He is the author of numerous academic and other publications, and his first coedited book Free Will and the Law: New Perspectives is published by Routledge and his second, Neurointerventions and the Law: Regulating Human Mental Capacity is published by Oxford University Press.

He was commissioned by the Law Society of England and Wales to write the report Neurotechnology, law and the legal profession, which was published in August 2022. This world-first consideration of brain-computer interfaces and other forms of neurotechnology was reported by media sources around the world in over 20 countries, including reports from the BBC and The Times.

As well as being a TEDx speaker on neurotechnology and human rights, he is a member of the newly-formed Standards Australia brain-computer interface committee. McCay has also been a visiting researcher at the philosophy departments of the University of California, Riverside, the University of Stirling, and the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford University and he has spoken at events for the general public, the technology sector, academics, legal practitioners, executive government, and the judiciary.

Ash Watson

Dr Ash Watson

Ash Watson is a Research Fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, based at UNSW Sydney. Her research uses creative qualitative methods to explore how people make sense of digital technologies in their everyday lives, and how they imagine the digital future. She is Fiction Editor of The Sociological Review and the creator/editor of So Fi Zine.

About the series

Artificial Artificial Intelligence is a series of in-conversation talks about technology and fiction hosted by Dr Ash Watson from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S). Probing the porous boundaries between machine realities and imagination, the series features leading scholars from the humanities and social sciences who are changing what – and how – we know about emerging technologies.


27 June 2023
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm AEST
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