Institute of Contemporary Arts

Technologist Chelsea Manning is in conversation with artist and writer James Bridle, discussing the rise of artificial intelligence and the role of AI in public policy, the state of the data economy, and the issues faced by transgender people today. A network security expert, Manning is a vocal advocate for government transparency and LGBTQ+ rights. Among topics to be explored with Bridle are the emergence of details surrounding the Panama Papers and Edward Snowden, as well the relationship of digital technologies to democracy – if, as their use by Cambridge Analytica shows, digital tools can be manipulated to undermine democratic processes, the pair also consider ways in which democracy in the digital age could yet be restored, indeed enhanced.

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This talk will take place at the Royal Institution.

 
Chelsea Manning worked as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense, where the classified documents she disclosed to the public revealed human rights abuses and corruption connected to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon receipt of a 35-year sentence for leaking government documents, an unprecedented amount of time for a whistleblower to be served, Manning publicly identified as a trans woman and asserted her legal rights to medical therapy. After seven years in military prison, President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence, and she was released in 2017. She now speaks on the social, technological and economic ramifications of AI, and on the practical applications of machine learning.
 
James Bridle is an artist and writer working across technologies and disciplines. His artworks have been commissioned by galleries and institutions and exhibited worldwide, including online. His writing on literature, culture and networks has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers such as Wired, Domus, Cabinet, The Atlantic, the New Statesman, the Guardian and the Observer. He lectures regularly at conferences, universities, and other events. New Dark Age, his book about technology, knowledge, and the end of the future, was published by Verso (UK & US) in 2018. His work can be found on his website jamesbridle.com.
 
Supported by Vivienne Westwood
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Chelsea Manning in conversation with James Bridle