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Benjamín Labatut talks to Stephen Fry

The Maniac

Hay Festival 2024, 

Chilean author Benjamín Labatut shines a light on the ethics of science in a disturbing triptych tracing the path from the fundamentals of mathematics to the delusions of artificial intelligence. It focuses on John von Neumann, a titan of science and a Hungarian wunderkind with exceptional mathematical powers. He designed the world's first programmable computer, invented game theory, pioneered AI and helped create the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But when illness unmoored his mind, his work pushed further into areas beyond human control.

Blending fact and fiction, Labatut takes us to the frontiers of rational thought, where invention outpaces human understanding and leads us to the brink of Armageddon. He talks to Hay Festival President Stephen Fry about The Maniac, his first book in English.

Benjamín Labatut talks to Stephen Fry