Walter Powell-Linfield University Philosophy Lecture Series


Valuing Intelligence: Buddhist Reflection on the Attention Economy and Artificial Intelligence

Streaming Media

Document Type

Video File


1 hour 15 minutes 19 seconds

Publication Date



Applied Ethics | Artificial Intelligence and Robotics | Buddhist Studies | Philosophy


This talk by Dr. Peter D. Hershock (director of the Asian Studies Development Program at the East-West Center) makes use of Buddhist conceptual resources to assess how the emerging global attention economy and the confluence of big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are reshaping the human experience. Like the Copernican revolution, which de-centered humanity in the cosmos, the intelligence revolution is dissolving once-foundational certainties and opening new realms of opportunity. The results are almost sure to be mixed. Smart cities will be more efficient and more livable; smart health care can potentially reach and benefit the half of humanity that now lacks even basic health services. Yet, smart services and the algorithmic tailoring of individual experience have the potential to first supplement and eventually supplant intelligent human practices, rendering human intelligence superfluous. Focusing in particular on the karmic dimensions of these transformations, the talk will consider who we need to be present as in order to resist the allure of digital sirens and direct the intelligence revolution toward a truly equitable and ethical re-centering of the human.


Sponsored by the Linfield College Philosophy Department and PLACE.