The 2021 BBC Reith Lectures, the 73rd in the series, are the first to deal directly with artificial intelligence as their main topic: Living With Artificial Intelligence. The lecturer, Stuart Russell of the University of California Berkeley, focuses on the benefits and the hazards of AI, and asks the central Web Science question of how we can control super-intelligent systems and ensure that they serve human purposes, especially in ethically complex areas such as defence and the automation of work. In his first lecture, he responded to questions from experts such as Tim Berners-Lee, Tabitha Goldstaub of the UK government’s AI Council, and Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library.

Russell has covered this topic in his 2019 book Human Compatible, and also included a chapter on ‘AI and the Problem of Control’ in the recent volume Perspectives on Digital Humanism, to which a number of well-known WST experts also contributed.