“Ars Electronica Festival: Out of the Box – The Midlife-Crisis of the Digital Revolution” / POSTCITY Linz

SEER: Simulative Emotional Expression Robot / Takayuki Todo (JP)

05.09.2019 – 09.09.2019; Linz.
The Ars Electronica Festival navigates through the Digital Revolution.

Roberto Viola occupies one of the central positions for the development of Europe’s digital future. As director general, he heads an EU-Directorate General with the unwieldy name “Department of Communication Networks, Content and Technology”. This department is nothing less than the institution that will have the central role in shaping European policy when it comes to preventing Europe from becoming the “digital colony” of the large US internet groups, which with their big databases of billions of people have exactly the resource that artificial intelligence needs in order to develop rapidly: an infinite amount of data.

Europe can practically only watch at the moment. Because the groups give virtually no insight into the algorithms according to which the AI researchers of Google, Amazon, Facebook and the like operate. Whether and in what form AI will also make decisions about fundamental and civil rights in the future, for example with regard to the question of who will receive a certain treatment in the future and who will not, is thus largely beyond democratic and ethical control.

This is one of the reasons why Roberto Viola will be opening the “European Platform for Digital Humanism” at this year’s Ars Electronica Festival. It will be up to the Europeans to lead the internet (copyright: Ars Electronica director Gerfried Stocker), which has entered a “midlife crisis”, into a humane and democratic future. Since neither the Chinese version of the internet with its concept of total governmental monitoring, nor the US version of the unbridled freedom of the globally dominant internet groups will take this into account.

The ARTificial Intelligence Lab was also set up within the framework of the Ars Electronica to help us better understand what artificial intelligence will be able to do in the future. It also serves to raise awareness of the fact that AI will only permanently improve people’s lives if a humane ethic is “programmed” as well. One of the works is by Vladan Joler, director of the Serbian NPO Share Foundation, which helps to protect the rights of internet users. With his black box “Facebook Algorithmic Factory” he examines the invisible processes within the world’s largest social network. The layers of algorithmic data processing can conceal new forms of human rights violations as well as new mechanisms of exploitation and manipulation that are no longer under our control. For Joler, making these visible is the first step to strike back.

This year’s theme of the Ars Electronica Festival, “Out of the Box”, unites creative minds from the fields of art, science, technology and economy who together begin to search for future perspectives. Programme highlights such as the exhibition “Human Limitations – Limited Humanity” in the Postcity bunker, the AI x Music Festival or the Innovation Day, which is devoted entirely to the theme of “Get Inspired”, complement the festival’s diversity. “Questions about human dignity will be asked. That was the idea behind 40 years of Ars Electronica: How did we achieve the great success of the digital revolution in the past 40 years? Where do we stand now, are we satisfied with it,” says Gerfried Stocker, artistic director of the festival.

The Ars Electronica Festival attends to the digital revolution in an artistic and scientific way and invites us to rethink the big questions of the future. “If you take a look behind the scenes and try to develop alternatives, it is suddenly possible to become not only a passive victim, but also an active co-creator of such developments.”

Ars Electronica Festival 20190
Out of the Box
05.09.2019 – 09.09.2019
Bahnhofplatz 12
4020 Linz