Lecture – “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Prolegomena to man and ai cooperation ethics in arts.”

Aug 13, 2023 -- 14:00

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Prolegomena to man and ai cooperation ethics in arts.

Speeding automobiles, cities illuminated by electricity, airplanes cutting the sky, telephone in hand, the whole world within a range of radio waves, immortal moving pictures, hypnotic music of machines. A wonderful new world rising from the ruins of the old order. What matters is today and tomorrow. The past is to be erased. The futuristic image of the world, culture, and art of more than 100 years ago stemmed from a sense of accelerating total change brought on by technology. The atmosphere of breakthrough translated into groundbreaking achievements in art, but the desire for total change also led to unbridled fanaticism. The Futurists’ journey from art freedom to fascism and communism should be a lesson for us to learn from. This is especially true today, when, thanks to Artificial Intelligence, we are facing unprecedented changes in all areas of life – politics, economics, economy, science, and finally art. The working parallel between the technical revolution in futuristic terms and the algorithmic revolution happening before our eyes will provide a framework for reflecting on the potential consequences of AI development. The main lesson we can learn from the history of Futurism, I believe, is the need to keep a distance from any dogmatic, either optimistic or apocalyptic, current interpretations of AI’s impact on our world. In an effort to critically address this issue, I will try to point out the fundamental ethical challenges posed by the emergence of such a rapidly developing “technological Other.” I see art, on the other hand, as a laboratory where we can conduct experiments and test new situations opening the discourse on AI to new perspectives free from euphoria and horror. Art as a space for experimental theoretical practice, criticism, and speculation provides a kind of testing ground for nomadic ethics, ethics in motion, and ethics that responds flexibly to a dynamically changing world.

Maciej Ożóg is a sound artist, curator, theorist of culture, and dj. He works at the Department of New Media and Digital Culture, University of Łódź. His academic research focuses...