September 23, 2019
Latest News
Science & Technology

Austrian technology art festival looks at AI's future impact on humanity

By Luis Lidon

Linz, Austria, Sep 5 (efe-epa).- Is artificial intelligence a threat or an opportunity?

That question will fuel one of the central debates at Europe's largest festival for digital art and culture, Ars Electronica, which kicked off Thursday in this Austrian city and will run until Monday.

AI was mere science fiction a half-century ago but now occupies a place in our daily lives, whether in the form of mobile apps that anticipate users' wants and needs or brake assist functions that help motorists avoid collisions.

This year's festival in Linz, a city 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Vienna, will bring together more than 1,400 artists, designers and social activists from 45 countries.

Its theme is "Out of the Box: The Midlife Crisis of the Digital Revolution," a title chosen, organizers say, because of its multiple, varied meanings.

"Out of the box" is a phrase that can refer to ready-made products that can be used immediately but which strip consumers of the "right to decide for ourselves how the data and information they generate is used," the Ars Electronica Festival's Web site says.

That phrase, however, also refers to the idea of thinking differently or unconventionally, as well as to a kind of Pandora's box that was opened with the digital revolution and to the need for citizens to get out of their comfort zones and start taking responsibility for shaping the future.

This year's Ars Electronica Festival aims to encourage people to take a step back at this midlife phase of the digital revolution and examine the technological and social crossroads we face in today's world.

More than 500 activities and sessions - round-table discussions, exhibitions, concerts, debates, installations, screenings and conferences - are intended to foster reflection on the positive and negative consequences of the digital revolution over the past several decades.

"Until now, digital transformation has (meant the) digitalization of the industrial world. What we did before without computers we now do digitally, and this includes our social lives. But now we're starting to digitalize our decision-making," Gerfried Stocker, the festival's artistic director, said.

"Even if the reality of independent artificial intelligence is still far in the future, we've started to make digital systems independent, and in a certain sense we've gone from automation to autonomy," he added.

That evolution raises several questions: How much autonomy should machines have? Will a time come when AI not only helps human beings but replaces them? What defines us as humans if a machine can perform our tasks?

The organizers hope this debate will spur citizens to take a more active role in designing the future technological model and not settle for being "passive consumers," a reality they say has led to "an unbridled data economy" dominated by powerful technology companies.

"We should use this time of crisis in the digital revolution to reformulate our questions about the future and focus not only on what technology offers but also on what we want to do with it," Stocker said.

One of the main events of this year's festival - and one in keeping with its spirit of experimentation - will be a concert on Friday night in which long-standing Ars Electronica partner Bruckner Orchestra Linz will perform a version of Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911).

That late-Romantic composer died before the symphony was fully elaborated, but it has recently been completed using AI.

As a lead-in to the orchestra's performance, choreographer Silke Grabinger will interact artistically as solo dancer with a configuration of several industrial robots playing one puppet dancer.

On Saturday afternoon, Prix forums will be held to introduce the Prix Ars Electronica prize-winners in the categories of Computer Animation, Digital Musics and Sound Art, and Artificial Intelligence and Life Art and provide a space for these artists to elaborate on their oeuvre and current work. EFE-EPA

ll/mc

News history
New study reveals giant size of extinct marsupials that once roamed Australia

Washington, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Paleontologists have found that a species belonging to an extinct genus of marsupial that roamed Australia some 25 million...

Disney CEO leaves Apple's board of directors ahead of streaming services war

San Francisco, USA, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- The chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company has resigned from Apple's board of directors – of which he had been a...

Bacteria in cash, pizza as medicine and other crazy experiments win Ig Nobels

Washington DC, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- The number of deadly bacteria lurking in cash or the medicinal properties of pizza are some of the unusual experiments...

Russian scientists patent system to collect space debris

Moscow, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- Student Russian scientists have patented a system of devices to remove space garbage from the Earth's orbit.

Remakes of iconic games steal limelight at Tokyo Game Show

By María Roldán

Bringing children in Peru up to speed with the internet

By Álvaro Mellizo

Water vapor detected in potentially habitable exoplanet's atmosphere

London, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- Scientists for the first time have detected water vapor in the atmosphere of an exoplanet of a size comparable to Earth, making...

Pioneering technology uses plants and microorganisms to produce electricity

By Mercedes Palomino

Science Museum explores how London became global hub for innovation

By Laura Sanfélix

Two viable embryos developed from northern white rhinos

Nairobi, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- Scientists working to save the northern white rhinos from extinction announced Wednesday that two eggs fertilized 10 days ago...

Indian space agency loses contact with lunar lander

New Delhi, Sep 7 (efe-epa).- India's space agency said Saturday that ground controllers lost contact with the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft's Vikram lander...

Countdown begins for India's moon mission to touch down at lunar South Pole

New Delhi, Sep 6 (efe-epa).- The countdown began on Friday for Chandrayaan-2 to land a rover on the Moon, India’s most ambitious space program to look for...

Yamnaya steppe tribe that invaded Iberia advanced as far as India

By Elena Camacho

Baby hippopotamus is latest resident at Nicaragua zoo

Managua, Sep 5 (efe-epa).- A baby hippopotamus, the only member of the species in Nicaragua and which was rescued from a circus, starting Thursday is the...

Austrian technology art festival looks at AI's future impact on humanity

By Luis Lidon

Mexican region gets first desalination plant for ag use in the Americas

By Juan Carlos Machorro

Iran denies burning of its satellite Nahid-1

Tehran, Aug 31 (efe-epa).- Iran has denied the failure of the launch of a communication satellite on Saturday as alleged by the United States.

Soyuz MS-15’s crew undergoes tests ahead of flight to ISS

Moscow, Aug 30 (efe-epa).- The crew members of the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft on Friday concluded the second day of tests before heading to International Space...

SpaceX Dragon capsule returns to Earth with NASA materials

Washington, Aug 27 (efe-epa).- The SpaceX CRS-108 Dragon space capsule returned safely to Earth on Tuesday loaded with assorted NASA materials, plunging...

Square marks boundary between haves, have-nots in Chile's capital

By Alberto Valdes Gomez

Russia's Soyuz capsule with Fedor robot on board docks at ISS on 2nd attempt

Moscow, Aug 27 (efe-epa).- The Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft, with the Russian Fedor robot as its only crew member, docked Tuesday at the International Space...

Dinosaur paleontology under threat in Argentina

By Pablo Ramón Ochoa

Soyuz carrying robot to attempt dock on ISS after failed attempt

Moscow, Aug 24 (efe-epa).- The Russian Soyuz MS-14 ship carrying android FEDOR as its sole crew member will try to dock on the International Space Station...

The tech hub that flourished against all odds in Gaza

By Laura Fernández Palomo

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.