Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back to the Future - roboeXotica Symposium

ROBOEXOTICA Chief Theory Officer Günther Friesinger of Bureau für Philosphie and his team put together the conference which accompanies this year's Festival for Cocktail Robotics

Here's the abstract:

Back to the Future – of Utopias in Cybernetics and Robotics

The Roböxotica – an event which is unique due to its scientific standards, its sincerity and its sophisticated way of entertaining, dealing with cybernetics, robotics and their contexts – is going to take place for the 10th time this year. As in previous years the international exhibition will be framed by an ambitious supporting programme: next to the established movie showing there is once again going to be a complementary conference on the main topic.

With its spheres of work so far Roböxotica has always been clearly committed to the up-to-date critical discussion of questions of cybernetics and robotics. Not least on the occasion of the upcoming anniversary of this event, which has become a tradition in the best sense of the word, 2008 will be themed around Utopia. With the title ‘Back to the Future’ not just the field of science and social fiction and its innovation generating potential will be addressed; the aim is rather to also focus on a discussion of the fundamental questions in cybernetics and robotics as well as their social realities in view of the socio-political buzzword ‘Utopia’. The technological possibilities and challenges of the commencing 21st century have led to a growing closeness between man and machine; we take it from reputable scientists that the actual existence of artificial intelligence is only a matter of time now. We are faced here with a clash of technical innovations with societal conceptions of a norm or, respectively, the common call for legal definitions – which is why, despite all its positive aspects, for example in human medicine, the powerful Utopia more often than not appears to be a nightmare. The realisation of the ‘Cyborg’ concept seems to be closer and more realistic than ever, the need for a constructive critique of all these questions is obvious and cannot be neglected.

Technology as applied, socially implemented technics therefore influences scientific discourse: cybernetics as the science of the structure of complex systems and its side effects has become the object of discussion as a university subject. The elements of human science which are actually rooted in the basic principles of the subject act as a necessary supplement to the technicistic perspective it transports and perpetuates. As it were, social reality – and this has also always been part of the mission of Roböxotica – needs interdisciplinarity and the aforementioned elements to be able to deal with the structural development ‘artificiality’-‘naturalness’, eco-political and military transfer and order processes and esthetical debates with a high factor of possible societal impact (e.g. cyberpunk – (post)cyberpunk) in a reasonable and appropriate manner. Due to its alignment, frequency and impact, the Roböxotica offers an ideal opportunity to practically and theoretically present and communicate these complex topics barrier-free and in an appropriate context.

Saturday Dec 6th, 4pm-8pm, Raum D, Museumsquartier Wien
Eddie Codel, Bre Pettis, Jens Ohlig, Martin Bricelj, Thomas Ballhausen, Kal Spelletich, Christopher T Palmer, Evelyn Fürlinger, Melinda Richka, and more. Host: J. Grenzfurthner

Panel 1
Smartass reloaded? - AI and the Future Role of Cybernetics.
Keywords: Upgrading Humanity - Rethinking the Role of Cybernetics as a Meta-science - Neuroscience
Panel 2
Rest in Pieces? Cyberpunks, Cyborgs and the Complexities of Discourses.
Keywords: Cyberpunk/(Post)Cyberpunkt - Aesthetical and Political Debates - Military-Entertainment-Complex - Interdisciplinarity
Panel 3
The Policy of the Artificial: Strategies, Tendencies and Perspectives.
Keywords: Input from Panels 1+2 - Utopia/Dystopia - Rethinking the Roles and Modes of Cybernetics and Robotics - Concepts of Meta-science

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