Ideas on Tap: Artificial Intelligence: Is There a Ghost in the Machine?

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Stark Brewing Company, Manchester

Why Does It Matter?

In this program we examined the ethical challenges surrounding artificial intelligence and machine learning, the risks and benefits, and who gets to decide which is which.


The Big Questions we asked:

•  What is artificial intelligence? In what ways do machines think differently from humans?
•  What are some the ethical and privacy issues involved in AI? For example, how do you feel about automated surveillance enabling the monetization of your personal data?
•  How do smart home devices (like Alexa) capture behavioral data? Can these devices influence the choices you make?
•  How does bias play out in AI and related technologies?
•  What’s the impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning on our regional and state economy and workforce?
•  Are humans replaceable? What role will there be for humans as the presence of AI increases in our society?
•  Can artificial intelligence create works of art and literature?


TRICIA PEONE, Ph.D., Program Manager, New Hampshire Humanities
Dr. Tricia Peone works at New Hampshire Humanities, where she manages the Humanities to Go and Humanities@Work programs. She holds a Ph.D. from UNH in early American history with a specialization in the history of science. Before joining New Hampshire Humanities, Tricia taught courses on New England history as an adjunct professor and worked as a historical consultant in the cultural resources industry. Her work as a historian focuses on the history of magic and the occult from the renaissance to today. She has seen the Matrix at least a dozen times and looks forward to a dystopian future where it’s always the late 1990s.


JESSE DAMIANI, Adjunct Professor of Immersive Technology at UNH Manchester and CEO of Galatea
Jesse Damiani is an entrepreneur, advisor, journalist, curator, educator, and public figure in emerging technology. He is Editor-at-Large of VRScout, Series Editor of Best American Experimental Writing, and CEO of Galatea, a screenwriting and project management tool for virtual reality (VR) stories. He covers VR, blockchain, AI, art, and media, with work in Adweek, Billboard, Entrepreneur, IndieWire, HuffPost, and Quartz. Jesse worked with Google in their initiative to develop educational content for the VR industry and was listed as a top global VR influencer in 2017 by Onalytica. Jesse holds an MFA in creative writing from University of Wisconsin-Madison and now teaches at UNH Manchester.

SABRINA OSMANY, Ph.D. Candidate in Artificial Intelligence and Computational Design at Harvard University
Sabrina Osmany is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in Artificial Intelligence and Computational Design at Harvard University. Her research focuses on computational models of visual perception that integrate language as part of the perceptual process. Her work combines machine learning with the cognitive neuroscience of human visuospatial reasoning, to lay the foundations for machines that are capable of human generative capacities such as imagination and creativity. Sabrina’s work is inspired by cognitive linguistics and cognitive psychology. Sabrina received her master’s in interaction design from New York University and a bachelor’s in philosophy from Bard College. She is from Karachi, Pakistan.

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The 2018-2019 Ideas on Tap Series is generously sponsored by 


For more information about Ideas on Tap, contact Dr. Tricia Peone, Program Manager, at 603-224-4071, ext. 115 or

Interested in these topics?

Want to explore them more? Organize a similar event or a whole series in your community with the support of a New Hampshire Humanities Community Project Grant.