As the world experiences an unprecedented health crisis, we are facing an unbalanced relationship between nature and the technology we create. We must rethink creativity & innovation as the seeds for a sustainable future. This requires continuous efforts, new skills, new actors, shared spaces and human-centric approach to AI and new technologies. This change also relies on building responsibility from the start when pursuing creativity & innovation in designing a new European Bauhaus. With partners from the fields of arts, research, science and industry, our project aimed to develop a sustainable co-creation hub to kickstart a wider transformation of our societies.
‘Symposium The Future of Living’
The Future of Living brought together close to thirty artists, scientists, and researchers in a multidisciplinary conversation on the present and future of artificial intelligence systems and their impact on our culture and society. The conference sessions took place in parallel with the Hack-à-deux, a creative challenge in which a group of artists and researchers developed three artistic projects inspired by the themes of the symposium, in just 48 hours.
The conference highlighted the need for a plurality of voices on a subject that has transcended the domain of computer science and has permeated every aspect of our society. Critical views on AI pointed out the loss of privacy, the biases embedded in the design of decision-making algorithms and the potential for social manipulation as some of its major threats. Conversely, other speakers stressed the potential of Machine Learning and other techniques for creativity, the improvement of living conditions for people with functionally diverse bodies, and the development of smart cities.
What started as a lively debate continues on the website of The Future of Living as an ongoing conversation. The Living Document, an interactive interface that collects different views on AI, invites users to evaluate them and contribute their own. As artificial intelligence technologies become embedded in our daily interactions with computers and information networks, keeping an open, plural and participatory dialogue is more needed than ever.
Challenges and learnings
The decision for engaging curators and a designer of the web page proved to be very rewarding. The collaboration with Bozar was realised in a good partnership. Additionally, the project managed to secure additional funds from EUNIC Brussels and Zavod Kapelica to engage prominent key speakers and guests from non-EU countries.
The project reported some challenges related to the management of the project (coordinating work of curators, 14 EUNIC partners and Bozar). During the process, the project lost one partner, but gained another one.
The most important lesson learned is: for achieving excellence in complex project it is necessary to involve curator. Equally important is a strong leadership of the project in terms of management and finances.
In a Q&A following the panel about the future of AI, Enzo Maria Le Fevre, Project Manager at the EU Commission DG DIGI, reflected on the role of technology within society: "Technology has always been a reflection of our society and the level of integration of its tools in our activities. If I think about the connection between artificial intelligence and creativity, for example, AI can be an essential tool for removing low value tasks that can disrupt creative energy, and it also it forces us to be more creative. But it can also be applied to uses that do not foster creativity, but on the contrary lead to shape consumer's decisions, for instance. So, we need to remind ourselves that AI is, first and foremost, a reflection of our own system."
Find more reflections in the living document here.