WUD Silesia: "What does it mean to know after automation" and "Research through art"

WUD Silesia: "What does it mean to know after automation" and "Research through art"

WUD Silesia: "What does it mean to know after automation" and "Research through art"

WUD Silesia

Last week, 23 March, I attended WUD Silesia Festival in Katowice. This is the annual event that takes place for many years, organised by Paweł Nowy Nowak, Agata Magdalena Nowak, Katarzyna Drożdżal, Dominika Ledwon. The define their mission as "Creating educational and developmental situations that allow designers to grow so that they can make informed and responsible design decisions, while keeping the present and future in mind."

Personally, I'm in awe each year, seeing the non-obvious intersections. This year it is Design-Knowledge-Humanity-AI. I'm back with a backpack full of ideas, books to read, people to follow, and I'm grateful for that experience.

Keynote: What does it mean to know and not know after automation?
(Dr hab. Michał Krzykawski)

Website summary:

The automation of thought processes and manifestations of the life of the mind, in addition to the fact that we do not know what its far-reaching effects will be, has caused the status of knowledge and ignorance to change, as have the processes of their production. I will talk about the importance of knowledge in these new technological conditions by specifying what the functional distinction between knowledge and information is. A better understanding of this distinction is needed to live well in the infosphere as an environment for knowing and thinking. It is in this context, referring to selected themes from Bernard Stiegler's extended thought (individuation, deproletarianization, pharmakon), that I will ask about design as philosophizing. Not about design philosophy, not about design thinking, but about design as a form of thinking - a practical philosophy that devises open-ended supports for future thought and the diverse forms of knowledge derived from it.

My thoughts:

  • One curiosity here, the speaker did the speech without using Slides, as an experiment and to support the thesis that we are overloaded with information as society

  • AI is not a hammer, we should really be careful with such metaphors as it can do more harm being so complex

  • Philosophical concepts from the past can be applied to the world of today, we don't need to use the word AI to define risks, for example Vannevar Bush defined computer as “Consider a future device … in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.” Sounds like AI? It does to me.

  • Information overload is a problem, especially in the world of content and information produced at scale by computers. But also computers need quality human content to be trained.

  • Computers can produce goods and the Speaker mentioned Marks ideas about capitalism criticism that we should be back to as much as ever

  • Even if some claims seem controversial, the Speaker got positive receipt from the audience

Panel: On research through art
(M. Krzykawski, A. Cieplak, H. Sitarz-Pietrzak, A. Nowak)

Website summary:

The first panel discussion to look at the worlds of science and art as one shared world, rather than two worlds apart.

My thoughts:

  • Research through art was interesting to me in the work context where we did a Design Spike to design a concept of a tool to be able to see the missing pieces, and ask additional questions to drive research on the topic

  • I loved the fact that art world was also represented by Anna Cieplak, writer and activist, and not just from visual design or visual art perspective

  • A question was asked from the public: "Is AI yet another form of expression that can be used to unblock creation for people without visual skill or with disabilities?". The answers were rather sceptical, as the point was raised that design is not about result but rather about the process. And that the process has therapeutic effect, not just the result of it.

Is that all?

That's just the beginning of the agenda, so stay tuned for more inspirations from WUD Silesia!

Siemka 🤘