Vassilis: Journey into the AIknown [...] / Antonio: Very Real Imaginary Worlds

Speaker: Vassilis Galanos # STIS; Speaker: Antonio Ballesteros # STIS

6th Apr 2020

15:00 - 17:00

Violet Laidlaw Room, CMB, 6th Floor


Vassilis:   Journey into the AIknown: Experiential Questions Concerning Expanding Experts, Exponential Expectations, and Expatriated Researchers, or, a Plead for Curiosity

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics are terms simultaneously specific and abstract enough to mobilise concerns and hopes about their futures and allow a vast array of dynamics to unfold at many different levels. In my research, which at this stage is meant to be finalised, I interviewed specialists directly involved with the practical research and development of AI and robotics, comparing experiential versions of current technical realities against imagined utopian/dystopian unrealistic mainstream portrayals. A number of issues I have identified during the last couple of years, include: (a) the Rorschach nature of the term AI, (b) pitfalls of polarised pairs of positive and negative expectations of AI, constantly repeated along AI’s history; evidencing humanity’s incredible ability to forget, (c) the normative suggestion of a rear-view mirror approach to AI (looking back at its history to see what is coming in order to adjust decision trajectories); (d) the understanding of AI specialists as nomadic scientists amidst complex societal dynamics; the impact of a generation gap between early AI/robotics scholars dedicated to curiosity-driven research and contemporary grant-to-grant scholars - my explanatory argument for the existence of this gap might be the very existence of AI winters.

Antonio: Very Real Imaginary Worlds: An Ethnography of the Environmental Performance Index (Abstract to follow shortly)

Vassilis Galanos is a PhD student at STIS

Antonio Ballesteros is a PhD student at STIS