Science and Technology Studies


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Drum Machines, Driverless Cars and the Politics of Artificial Intelligence

04 October 2023, 4:30 pm–6:00 pm

Picture of the Drummer's Nightmare vignette

Join Professor Jack Stilgoe for his Professorial Inaugural Lecture

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


Medical Sciences 131 A V Hill Lecture Theatre
Medical Sciences and Anatomy
Gower Street

UCL STS is thrilled to host Professor Jack Stilgoe's Inaugural Lecturer, following his promotion to Professor of Science & Technology Policy in October 2020.

It seems as though 2023 has become the year of artificial intelligence. As news coverage, political attention and money has pivoted towards this emerging technology, AI leaders have been quick to tell us, with admirable certainty, what AI is and what it means for society: it will be the next industrial revolution, but it will also take our jobs and jeopardise the future of humanity.

In this lecture, Prof Stilgoe is going to argue that we shouldn’t believe the hype. Rather than worrying about the end of the world, we should instead ask the old questions of politics: who is likely to benefit, who will be making the decisions, and how can our current technological trajectory be changed? Prof Stilgoe will be looking at two case studies. Driverless cars represent a test of AI in the wild, doing something many would have thought impossible even a decade ago. But in order to realise the value of this technology, we need to challenge the story that drives it. Drum machines are a very different form of automation, but Prof Stilgoe thinks the lessons for how we think about creativity, labour and political power can help guide future decisions about AI and its governance. 

The event will be followed by a drinks reception, which will be held at the UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, 102-Drama Studio.

About the Speaker

Professor Jack Stilgoe

Professor of Science & Technology Policy at UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies

More about Professor Jack Stilgoe