Cambridge Science Festival has announced its 2016 programme, themed around the growing interaction between humans and technology.

More than 300 events and seminars will be held over two weeks in March, asking questions such as:

– Are we letting machines take over and give rise to mass unemployment or worse?

– Will artificial intelligence be superior to or as creative as the human brain?

– Should we be worried about quantum computing and the impact it will have on the way we work, communicate and live in the future?

– Should we harness rather than hate the digital deluge?

Speakers from the science world and beyond include Professor Sir John Gurdon (Nobel Laureate), Sir David Spiegelhalter, Richard Gilbertson, Raymond Leflamme, Didier Queloz, Meg Urry, Tony Purnell, Dr Ewan Birney, Angus Thirlwell, Dr Hermann Hauser, Robin Ince, Charles Simonyi and Simon Guerrier.

“Artificial intelligence could be of great benefit to society, providing innovative discoveries and providing humans with more leisure time,” said the University of Cambridge’s Professor Barbara Sahakian, who is organising the event. “However, workers are concerned that, more and more, jobs are being taken over by artificial intelligence.

“Some people feel this is an inevitable progression into the future due to advances in artificial intelligence, information technology and machine learning. However, others including many neuroscientists are not convinced that computers will ever be able to demonstrate creativity nor fully understand social and emotional interactions.”

The Cambridge Science Festival takes place from 7-20 March, with tickets on sale now.

Photo credit: John Krzesinski