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Coming up on Connections: Thursday, June 8, 2023

Stock image: An abstract representation of AI.
Stock image: An abstract representation of AI.

First hour: What should humans do now to protect their role in areas that could be impacted by AI?

Second hour: Discussing the future of cable television

Thursday morning, reporters at NPR’s “Planet Money” told listeners that they used artificial intelligence (AI) to report a radio story. The story was about how telephone operators in the early 1900s gradually found themselves out of work after machines took over their jobs. While the AI seemed to do a decent job with some aspects of the story, there was a major ethics issue: the AI invented a source as it predicted what the story needed. Just as automation replaced telephone operators more than 100 years ago, experts say AI will replace many of the jobs we see today. What is the cost? And what can – and should – humans do now to protect the human role in various areas that could be impacted by AI? A new piece in the Atlantic Monthly argues that a cultural and philosophical movement is needed. This hour, we address these issues with an AI expert. Henry Kautz is a professor emeritus at the University of Rochester who has spearheaded years of research on artificial intelligence. He joins us to discuss his work, AI’s potential impact on jobs and the economy, his thoughts on possible regulation, and more. Our guest:

  • Henry Kautz, professor emeritus at the University of Rochester, senior advisor for the AI for Science project at Science and Technologies Futures, and member of the advisory board for AIM Intelligent Machines

Then in our second hour, do you watch cable television? How have your TV viewing habits changed over the years, if at all? ESPN is planning to launch a standalone streaming service available directly to consumers. While it’s projected that the new service won’t be available until 2025, the project has led to questions about the future of cable TV. According to Forbes, 2.3 million American households have cancelled their cable subscriptions in the first quarter of this year. Forbes also reports that the percentage of households with cable is at its lowest in more than 30 years. What does all of this mean for consumers and for content creators? We explore the question with our guests:

  • Frank Saraceno, feature producer and documentary filmmaker for “E:60” at ESPN
  • Annabelle Sheehan, professor of practice in television-radio-film at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University
  • Bob Boden, Emmy-nominated executive producer, executive vice president of production and development at Entertainment Studios, adjunct professor in the Los Angeles Semester program at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, and industry leader in the game show and reality genres 
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.

Connections with Evan Dawson

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