2 July 2019
AI: Towards a Critical Utopia - Nexa Summer School 2019
It is commonly understood that AI is one of the most disruptive technologies being developed. It may affect almost every aspect of society – from knowledge sharing to economic interactions, from making art crafts to finding cures for our diseases – and of personal life – from making friends, to finding a partner, from dealing with the pain for the loss of beloved people, to helping us managing our households through smart objects. Understanding the relationship between AI and society is a complex endeavour, since its shape and its evolution are not an immutable technological law, but instead the consequence of specific choices, both private and public, that could very well change over time and may of course influence its sustainability.
Some powerful politicians like Vladimir Putin have declared that who will lead the researches in the field of AI, will lead the world, and of course many funds are coming from the armies (Harari, 2015) and from governments that seem to be working for monitoring and controlling us (Greenwald, 2015; Zuboff, 2018). Many others come from the finance world and are meant to increase the incomes of a few rich persons, regardless the risks ran by the rest of the population (O’Neil, 2016). There is much to fear the coming of a dystopian age, but we know that in times of big technological changes, debates on the dangers for the future are frequent and, in a certain way, necessary, because they help us focussing on the problems that must be faced to create a better world.
However, most of the times good technologies have improved our lives, so it is up to be critical and aware, without giving up to the goal we have always pursued: using our technological tools for the good of mankind. In a time in which most of the reflections on the development of digital technologies are dystopian (Morozov, 2011), we propose to work on a more positive, even if problematic vision: a “critical utopia”, a utopia which must be aware of the limits of a too optimistic vision of the future.
The Summer School welcomes applications from Ph.D. students and MS students.
EUR 0: The subscription to the lectures is free of charge.
The first 10 students enrolled will be covered all costs of extra-educational activities.