Season 1: Episode 1 - A.I. and The Cost of Love with Dr. Robert Elliott Smith
Algorithms and dating. Robots and love. How decision-making requires conviction narratives. And why to avoid the wisdom of crowds when it comes to romance.
With 30+ years working in A.I., Dr. Robert Elliott Smith has a lot to teach us about its impact on our love lives.
Listen here or scroll down to read the rest of the show notes.
This is the first ever episode of The Cost of Love with Haley McGee. Welcome!
Haley McGee is a love idiot. She’s also an actor and the author of the forthcoming book, ‘The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale’. On The Cost of Love Podcast she’s talking to a wide range of experts to try to figure out if the cost of love is worth it.
Each episode features a conversation between Haley and someone in the know, and they dig into that strange juicy place where love and money collide.
This episode is all about the cost of love and Artificial Intelligence with A.I. expert, technologist, entrepreneur and writer, Dr. Robert Elliott Smith.
In part one, ‘Everyone’s a Love Idiot’, Haley grills Robert with a series of questions that attempt to quantify Robert’s romantic history. How many times he’s been in love, had his heartbroken and on a scale from 1-10 how much did his parents’ relationship freak him out about being in relationships!?
In part two, ‘Brains Over Braun’, we apply Robert's expertise to the concept of the cost of love.
Rob shares how a blind date he went on early in his career re-famed how he views A.I.
Haley gets Rob to breakdown some terms that get thrown around but that we don’t always understand, like "qualitative versus quantitative data", "algorithms", "big data" and "artificial intelligence".
Drawing from concepts Rob mentions in his book, Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All, Haley asks questions to explore how algorithms and A.I. are influencing our love lives.
Rob talks about what science tells us about systems involved in human decision making, other than logic.
They discuss Black Swan Theory as applied to Dating Apps, Conviction Narratives as applied to break ups and the dangers of adhering to the Wisdom of Crowds when it comes to how to think about our own romantic lives.
Haley and Robert dish about their own online dating experiences and Robert talks about how the algorithms could be re-written for more interesting results.
Robert shares his feelings on robots as lovers and talks about the process of falling in love with his wife.
In part three, ‘Free Hugs’, Rob and Haley answer listener questions on love and money, ranging from how to handle earning a disparate amount to your partner, what to do when your significant other’s parents insist on buying you expensive gifts and whether Bitcoin is a sound investment.
Before signing off, Haley let’s listeners in on a recent experience she had with the reductive nature of algorithms while putting this podcast together. A tiny portrait of how the “simplifying” and “categorising” nature of algorithms removes nuance and complexity and leaves us feeling misunderstood.
About Dr. Robert Elliott Smith
Dr. Robert Elliott Smith is a technologist, complexity scientist, entrepreneur, writer and sought-after public speaker. He is an artificial intelligence (A.I.) expert and has worked with clients, companies and institutions across the private and public sectors. Having grown up in Alabama at the height of the Civil Rights movement, he has a deeply informed perspective on bias in algorithmic systems and is dedicated to the pursuit of human-readable and responsible A.I. He is the author of Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms and How to Stop The Internet Making Bigots of Us All. He is currently a science, technology, and business advisor to a number of firms, including Mirza, Centigy, Meomics, MindHug, and others. He is a Founding Trustee of We and AI, an organisation dedicated to improving A.I.’s effects of society. He is a Senior Fellow of the Computer Science Faculty at University College London where he co-founded the Centre for Decision-Making Uncertainty. He also co-founded and co-created BOXARR Ltd., a company whose technology helps people cope with some of the world’s most complex industrial challenges.
Books & Some of the Other Things Mentioned
Rage Inside the Machine by Robert Elliott Smith
The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale by Haley McGee (available for pre-order in the UK)
Neil Stephenson, science fiction writer who coined the term “pseudo intelligence”
Antonio Damasio, neuroscientist whose work distinguished difference between feelings and emotions
The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (Rob's fav book of all time)
Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson (recommended by Haley's therapist)
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Written & Hosted by Haley McGee
Edited & Produced by Maddie Haynes
Music & Audio Production by Robert Moutrey
Production Support from Eliza Cass