Where we’re coming from

 

Since time immemorial, man has been trying to extend his reach, his life and, ultimately, himself, by applying techniques and technologies shaped by his artistic and scientific imaginings. Today he stands in a relationship between himself and new technologies that requires him to repeatedly re-think and re-define the fields of ethics, culture and art.

 

Scientific research now enables us to imagine, build and accept the intrusion of robotized prostheses in our concept of the living human being. They may be controlled by conscious thought, or automatic, like artificial hearts, and implants that restore the sense of hearing. The arts transcend the media to the point of throwing down cultural barriers. The internet, social networking and smartphones have changed the ways in which we think and interact. All this underlines the profound transformation that is taking place in our definition of what it is to be human in a transmedia universe where man and technology are constantly in immediate communication.

 

When the science fiction writer Isaac Azimov brought out his collection of short stories, I Robot, in 1967, he was putting a whole world of rapidly evolving technology into question and confronting it with our concepts of ethics and social interaction. Science fiction artists, writers and film-makers have often served and stimulated the development of scientific research and thus helped shape the realities of today.

 

Science, and thereby technology, has always been allied to art and served to realize the artist’s vision. Art does not explain science but may give us a glimpse of it. Science does not explain art but may be inspired by its creative ideas that disregard the conceptual barriers between disciplines. So the idea behind this PI Symposium is to bring about a convergence between what is possible and what might actually happen at the meeting points of art and technology.

Katarzyna Szymkiewicz, (video)