Continuing our blog series, ‘Introducing the University of Bristol’s Turing Fellows,’ the Jean Golding Institute have been speaking to several of the the thirty University of Bristol Alan Turing Institute Fellows in order to find out a bit more about their work and research interests.
You can take a look at our last interview with Levi John Wolf, Lecturer in Quantitative Human Geography, about his work developing new mathematical models and algorithms in applications across field of quantitative geography on the JGI Blog.
Next up in the series, we spoke to Genevieve Liveley, Reader in Classics and Turing Fellow, about her work in narratology and the ancient and future (hi)stories of AI and robots.
JGI: What are your main research interests?
My research and teaching centres upon narratologically inflected studies of the ancient world and its modern reception. My most recent book, Narratology (OUP) exposes the dynamic (mis)appropriation of ancient scripts that gives modern narratology its shape. My new research, on the ancient and future (hi)stories of AI and robots, builds on this work, and seeks a better understanding of the story frames, schemata, and scripts that programme cultural narratives about human interaction with artificial humans, automata, and AI – from across the last 3000 years.
JGI: Can you give a brief background of your experience?
I completed my PhD in Classics (on chaos theory and ancient narrative) here at Bristol and, after a post-doc at Berkeley and a year lecturing in Reading, was lucky enough to get a permanent post back here.
JGI: What are the big issues related to data science / data-intensive research in your area?
Preliminary research indicates that public attitudes to AI in society are coded by their experience of AI in fiction. So, a better understanding of the narrative dynamics shaping such coding – that is, the narrative scripts and frames that programme human responses to AI – is essential. Not least of all to help us better understand public discourse and private fears around risk and opportunity in AI. As recent controversies over immunization show, the best data can be ‘trumped’ by a single story and significant harms ensue.
JGI: Can you tell us of one recent publication in the world of data science or data-intensive research that has interested you?
The Royal Society Report on ‘AI narratives: portrayals and perceptions of artificial intelligence and why they matter.’
JGI: How interdisciplinary is your research?
Very! I’m a narratologist (working on the science of stories) based in the department of Classics and Ancient History.
JGI: What’s next in your field of research?
Bringing theory and praxis together to develop some practical tools for government and other agencies to use in assessing and anticipating the future risks of AI innovation.
JGI: If anyone would like to get in touch to talk to you about collaborations / shared interests, how can they get in touch?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JGI: Are there any events coming up that you would like to tell us about?
In April I’ll be speaking on AI narratives and ethics at the CYBERUK 2019 conference (24 –25 April 2019): this is the UK government’s flagship cyber security event, hosted by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
More about The Turing Fellows
Thirty fellowships and twelve projects have been awarded to Bristol as part of the University partnership with the Turing. This fellowship scheme allows university academics to develop collaborations with Turing partners. The Fellowships span many fields including key Turing interests in urban analytics, defence and health.
Take a look at the Jean Golding Institute website for a full list of University of Bristol Turing Fellows.
The Alan Turing Institute
The Alan Turing Institute’s goals are to undertake world-class research in data science and artificial intelligence, apply its research to real-world problems, drive economic impact and societal good, lead the training of a new generation of scientists and shape the public conversation around data.