Past Meetup

The Economic Singularity (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the AI)

This Meetup is past

118 people went

Price: £7.00 /per person

Birkbeck College

Torrington Square WC1E 7HX · London

How to find us

We'll be in room B36, on the basement floor

Location image of event venue


Artificial intelligence (AI) is surpassing our human ability to absorb and process information. Robots are becoming increasingly dextrous, flexible, and safe to be around (except the military ones!). AI is our most powerful technology, and we all need to understand it.

In his new book, "The Economic Singularity" (, Calum Chace argues that within a few decades, most humans will not be able to work for money. Self-driving cars will probably be the canary in the coal mine, providing a wake-up call for everyone who isn’t yet paying attention. All jobs will be affected, from fast food McJobs to lawyers and journalists. The Economic Singularity is the single most important development facing humanity in the first half of the 21st century. The outcome can be either very, very good or really rather grim.

A few decades later, assuming we make a successful transition to the post-employment world, we will face the Technological Singularity, which Calum wrote about in his previous book, "Surviving AI" ( The creation of the first artificial general intelligence, he argues, will will be followed shortly by the arrival of superintelligence. This, as the Three Wise Men observed (Hawking, Musk and Gates) will either be the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity.

The outcome of the two singularities is not pre-ordained. In this talk, Calum explores what we can do to ensure the outcome is positive.

About the speaker:

Calum Chace ( is a best-selling author of fiction and non-fiction books and articles on the subject of artificial intelligence. His books include Surviving AI, a non-fiction book about the promise and the challenges of AI, and Pandora's Brain, a techno-thriller about the first superintelligence. His new book The Economic Singularity addresses the prospect of widespread technological unemployment.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Calum had a 30-year career in journalism and business, in which he was a marketer, a strategy consultant and a CEO. He maintains his interest in business by serving as chairman and coach for a selection of growing companies. In 2000 he co-wrote The Internet Startup Bible, a business best-seller published by Random House.

A long time ago, Calum studied philosophy at Oxford University, where he discovered that the science fiction he had been reading since boyhood was actually philosophy in fancy dress.

Meeting logistics

2pm-4pm, Saturday 8th October 2016.

Venue: Room B36, Birkbeck College (, Torrington Square WC1E 7HX, London.

Room B36 is on the basement level in the main Birkbeck College building, in Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations.

Coffee and other light refreshments can be purchased from the Costa Coffee shop in the reception area of the building, either ahead of or after the meeting.

The event will be followed by a chance to continue the discussion in a nearby pub - The Marlborough Arms (, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ.

Event hashtag:

#LonFut (

Covering meeting costs:

A small fee (£7) is payable to attend this meetup. This fee covers room hire costs. Please pay in advance, online, after you RSVP.

(NB you don't need a PayPal account to use the PayPal interface.)

This will be refunded if the meeting is cancelled or rearranged, or if the attendee cancels at least 2 days before the meetup.

In case of difficulty using the meetup app to RSVP and pay, please use a laptop or desktop web browser.

Alternatively, if there are still seats available, payment of £10 in that case can be made in cash at the door on the day. (Requesting payment in advance assists with accurate planning of the event.)

Journalists are welcome to attend the meeting free-of-charge - please contact the organiser, notifying us in advance of your plans to attend.