Plotting the Future: Scenarios and Scenes of Speculation

Led by the UCD Humanities Institute, the UCD Institute for Discovery and the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy, ‘Plotting the Future’ is a public lecture series and forum for debate that explores the urgent question of what it means to be human in the age of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

AI, robotics, autonomous vehicles, drones, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, and biotechnology are revolutionising society. These new technologies are already blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological worlds, raising ethical, social and legal concerns. While some commentators celebrate the opportunities of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, others foreground the potentially uncontrollable ramifications of what is arguably an unprecedented transformation of the human world.

Our experts and guest lecturers will discuss the following questions:

  • What are the socio-political, economic and cultural challenges and opportunities of the second machine age?
  • How will it transform the world of work?
  • To what extent will our self-perception as human beings change?
  • How can we safeguard the very notion of self-governance, given the increasing dependence on AI and robotics?
  • Can robotics law protect us from uncontrolled advances in these domains?

Join us as we discuss what the future may look like in thirty years.


Professor Judy Wajcman, Anthony Giddens Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics

Automation, Robotics and the Temporality of Everyday Life

Date: Tuesday, 30 May 2017 at 5pm
Venue: Room H204, UCD Humanities Institute

Judy Wajcman is the Anthony Giddens Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics, and a Visiting Professor at the Oxford Internet Institute. She has published widely on the gender relations of technology. Her recent books include Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism (2015) and The Sociology of Speed: Digital, Organization, and Social Temporalities (2017). 

Register for this event


Tuesday, 20 June 2017 - Dr Mary Aiken
The Cyber Effect: Children and Young People in an Age of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and the Internet

Friday, 7 July 2017 - Professor Maja Pantic
Title to be confirmed

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 - Professor Margaret Boden OBE FBA
AI and the Future

Thursday, 12 October 2017 - Professor Susanne Beck
Robots and the Law - the Problem of Liability Diffusion

Thursday, 9 November 2017 - Dr Kathleen Richardson
Turning persons into property and property (robots and AI) into persons