For centuries, we have been following rational thinking in the Cartesian style. This thinking has transformed our mind into a highly efficient tool with which we can analyze, optimize and exploit everything – but somehow it also forces us to do so. Caught in our rational thinking space, we tackle the biggest problems in human history with the same old reflexes that only bring us closer to extinction. Nevertheless, this Cartesian rational thinking is so omnipresent that we can hardly imagine any other way to think and solve problems.
It is time to try something different. Something totally different. So let’s try the opposite of Cartesian rational thinking. Let’s try paradox (: But what does paradox thinking actually look like? And how can we apply paradox to meet the challenges of our time?
At the Užupis University Symposium on Applied Paradox unbearably wise and foolish artists, techis and cultural makers will help us leave our familiar terrain of thoughts to explore the unthinkable. We will discuss the potential of paradox in relation to topics like quantum computing, glitch feminism, space habitation and π!
Agenda (6:00 pm to 8:30 pm)
Uzupis is an artist republic founded to save a district from drowning in poverty and violence. With love, humor, and paradox the republic saved the district and the lives of the inhabitants. The constitution of Užupis was the intellectual centerpiece of that peaceful revolution. After an official amendment process I was allowed to add an AI article to the constitution. The AI version of the Užupis constitution is permanently mounted to the wall of a socio-cultural center, which is located right between arts galleries and start-up incubators. The constitution builds a bridge between arts and technology to inspire the AI world with the caring and affectionate worldview of artists.
The formulated article is a subversion of the current ethical debate about AI to remind humans of their self-responsibility. At the same time it grants AI the status of a subject in order to anticipate potential futures of cohabitation with artificially intelligent beings. The AI constitution has been presented on various international exhibitions as well as scientific and political conferences like Ars Electronica and AI4Good, and has been covered by news papers and magazines like Süddeutsche and US Playboy.
AI as a knowledge processing and decision making technology raises many questions and concerns about how to control it and how to prevent abuse. Current governance structures still try to monitor and sanction the totality of AI applications. The sheer extent and pace of AI adoption renders this approach increasingly insufficient. Therefore, Užupis engages to strengthen the ethical values of each individual, which form the basis of all AI applications. Our constitution‘s Munich right and our Principles for Trustworthy AI Design strongly emphasize our own responsibility.
The Užupis Principles for Trustworthy AI Design shall serve as a complementary to the European Union’s recommendations on trustworthy AI (The Munich Embassy of Užupis is member of the European AI Alliance, which created the EU’s recommendations). These are the first principles, which rely on trust in the people designing AI, support an ongoing process of readjusting the AI, and foster adoption to diverse and dynamic conceptions of ethics. The principles neither certify nor enforce the design of AI for common good. They rather encourage you to stay true to yourself and act responsibly towards others.