James Steinhoff: AI and automation
James' hometown: Harrow, Ontario
James enjoys discussing the rise of artificial intelligence over drinks.
James Steinhoff never pictured himself going to grad school or becoming a PhD student.
“I didn’t really take my undergraduate degree seriously until later on, when I realized I liked it,” James explains.
Today, the 33-year-old is in his final year of his PhD in Media Studies at Western University.
James, who also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy and a Master of Philosophy, both from the University of Windsor, says he made the switch over to Media Studies hoping there would be “slightly” more jobs in the industry. Ironically, James’ work focusses on artificial intelligence and its potential effects on automating work.
“It’s not that robots are going to take over like in Terminator. It’s that machines will be used to make profit…and the side effects will be very unpleasant,” James explains.
Between obtaining his degrees, James worked manual labour jobs that often involved setting up conference chairs and tables. Today, his PhD studies have given him the opportunity to attend conferences all over the world, including Iceland and Sweden—this time, as a guest or speaker.
James recently ate fermented shark on a trip to Iceland.
This has proven to be a successful academic partnership thus far. In June, a book that the pair wrote alongside fellow FIMS professor Dr. Atle Mikkola Kjøsen, titled Inhuman Power: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Capitalism, will be published by Pluto Press.
“It’s definitely the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” says James.
Profiles in the Meet Our Students section are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.