November 2019

Artificial Intelligence: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat

Organized by the Victoria Branch and VIES

Status: Advanced registration is now closed. please contact the Victoria Branch at [email protected] for space availability. Thank you.
Date: Friday, November 1, 2019
Time: 11:30 PM–2:00 PM
Location: Sportsman Lounge - Oak Bay Recreation Centre, 1975 Bee Street, Victoria, BC
Presenter: Peter J. Scott,
Author and Speaker
Credit: 1.5 Informal Professional Development Hours (PDH)
Cost: Member and Non-Member Price: $25.00 + GST = $26.25

Student Member Price: $10.00 + GST = $10.50
Contact: Marce Gingras, P.Eng.
Email: [email protected]
Note: To help us predict our catering needs, please register by Wednesday, October 30, 2019.
The Victoria Branch of Engineers and Geoscientists BC and Vancouver Island Engineer Society (VIES) are pleased to present a luncheon and presentation by Peter J. Scott, author of Crisis of Control: How Artificial SuperIntelligence May Destroy or Save the Human Race. Mr. Scott will provide an exciting opportunity to learn and discuss the challenges, applications, and opportunities presented to us by artificial intelligence.


  • 11:30 AM–12:00 PM: Registration and networking
  • 12:00 PM–12:30 PM: Buffet Lunch
  • 12:30 PM–2:00 PM: Presentation and Questions


Few people are prepared for the seismic changes coming in the next few years, when what today is science fiction will become reality. Nearly half of all job functions could be automated with virtually no alternatives. Those include many jobs currently considered to be premier, white-collar professional positions, such as $400 thousand financial advisors. Knowledge workers are particularly susceptible—if a job consists of taking in one kind of information and outputting another, it may well be possible to train an AI to perform it, as has already happened with customer service and report writing. Surviving and leveraging this tidal wave of change requires adaptive strategies. Artificial Intelligence can improve efficiency and performance in many areas of, for instance, fraud and abuse detection through machine learning. Beyond that timeframe, the future holds even more fantastic possibilities for the evolution of employment and humanity.

About the Speaker

Peter J. Scott's resume reads like a Monty Python punchline: half business coach, half information technology specialist, half teacher, three-quarters parent. After receiving a master's degree in computer science from Cambridge University, he has worked for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an employee and contractor for over 30 years, helping advance our exploration of the Solar System. He started in the navigation section, which maneuvers spacecraft to hit tiny targets a billion miles away, then moved to IT infrastructure, providing solutions for enterprise architecture in distributed computing and institutional cybersecurity. Over the years, he branched out into the Open Source community, writing technical books and videos, and delivering convention speeches and onsite trainings.

Yet at the same time, he developed a parallel career in "soft" fields of human development, getting certifications in Neuro-Linguistic Programming from founder John Grinder and in coaching from the International Coaching Federation. In 2007, he co-created a convention honoring the centennial of the birth of author Robert Heinlein, attended by over 700 science fiction fans and aerospace experts, a unique fusion of the visionary with the concrete.

Bridging these disparate worlds positions him to envisage a delicate solution to the existential threats facing humanity. His book, “Crisis of Control: How Artificial SuperIntelligences May Destroy or Save the Human Race” explores these threats. It offers us a fascinating look at advancing technology and how we will either be greatly helped or gravely harmed by it depending on how we act now.

Vancouver Island Engineering Society

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