The Vivarium Festival is back in Porto on the 28, 29 and 30 of March to reflect on the impact of technology on the arts and society.
“Natural Intelligence, What AI still can’t do?”
When Alfa-Go defeated Lee Sedol, the best Go player in the world, the Deep-mind algorithm made moves never seen in the game's history. It was the horizon of this age-old game - considered by the Chinese an art at the level of music, calligraphy or painting - that changed, when players realized that there were still many strategies to be discovered. Shame on human intelligence! Will humans become artificial intelligence (AI) pets, as Elon Musk likes to repeat?
In 2019 Vivarium aims to stimulate this debate on the convergences and divergences between Natural Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence, presenting exhibitions, performances, concerts, workshops and lectures in various venues of the city of Oporto: Maus Hábitos, Ateneu Comercial, Cinema Passos Manuel and Reitoria da Universidade do Porto, com a with the philosophy conference “Criar Conceitos-Seguir Regras” ["Create Concepts-Follow Rules"].
The theme of the 2019 edition is “Natural Intelligence, What AI still can’t do?” In reference to Hubert L. Dreyfus's 1972 book, "“What Computers Still Can’t Do, A Critique Of Artificial Reason”.
At a time where there is an intense speculation about the AI's capacities to create and where the behaviors of living beings are often reduced to a pseudo-scientific functioning where matter and script are supposed to be equivalent, we wanted to invite artists and thinkers to question what is really specific to the alive; we wanted to overcome the opposition free and creative nature on the one hand, versus alienating machines or institutions on the other, inviting artists whose works disturb this traditional opposition Nature / Culture.
As the philosopher Tristan Garcia explains, the intelligence of the human species is distinguished from AI because it is a living consciousness, between the animality that constitutes it and the representations it constructs. From the moment the human is determined as an evolutionary event, the only way to assert a human identity is to imitate natural evolution by artificializing it; that is, trying to do more and better than the natural evolution does. Singularity, the contemporary version of the old dream of automatism, corresponds to this desperate attempt to create a different, transcendent identity beyond what exists as determinism.
But no matter how hard we may try, the human animal can not invent itself as a new identity. It just exists "in between." Between the creature and the creator, between the animal and the machine, between the beast and the sovereign. Between living in an environment and being environmentally friendly. It identifies itself with the machines to differentiate itself from the animals and identifies with the animals to differentiate itself from the machines. Animality can only be cured by artificiality and artificiality by animality. Its autonomy lies in this. AIs, however sophisticated they may be, are not autonomous because they do not create the rules. Life creates rules and problematizes in a pre-movement where all possible and imaginable weights come into account, falling to the side of life or death, to the side of collaboration or aggression, integration or disintegration.