Conference on technologies that change social interactions - MRU

8 April, 2024
Conference on technologies that change social interactions

4 April The international conference "Thriving Life, Alienation and Artificial Intelligence" took place at Mykolas Romeris University (MRU). Speakers at the conference discussed the impact of the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation on social relations in society.

The speakers presented an analysis of the most famous works from antiquity (Aristotle), the 19th century and the 20th century, assessing the impact of technology on societies. Three approaches emerged: optimistic, pessimistic and technological transformation. The conference participants were particularly engaged in analysing the arguments put forward by critics of technological optimism. One of these was highlighted by Dr Egidijus Mardosas of Vilnius University and MRU, who argued in his presentation that systems based on capitalism are dangerous because they are self-sustaining, as exemplified by the climate crisis, which is created by and then solved by the technological world.

Dr A. Bielskis, a professor at MRU, pointed out that in today's automation-driven market, there is no such thing as "alienated" labour.

"Capitalism, by automating human work, keeps people alienated. Human initiative is replaced by machine learning, the purpose of which is to generate and analyse information. However, this path completely or partially eliminates the human capacity to reflect on global strategic objectives, such as where to direct the same AI in the future.

"Happiness is the calm reflection on our decisions", said Prof. Dr. A. Bielskis, who had mixed thoughts during the conference.

The conference was attended by Prof. Dr. Andrius Bielskis from MRU, Dr. Egidijus Mardosas from MRU and Vilnius University, Vaidotas Valantiejus (Vilnius College and Vilnius University), and guests from abroad - Anthony Burns (University of Nottingham, MRU), Jeff Noonan (University of Windsor), Kelvin Knight and Joe Simpson (London Metropolitan University), Ruth Groff (Saint Louis University).

The conference papers will be published in a collective monograph "Technology, AI and Human Flourishing: Automation and Alienation in the Age of Digital Capitalism".

Organised by the MRU Centre for Aristotelian Studies and Critical Theory (CAST). It completes the project "Human Flourishing and Alienated Work in the Age of Automation", led by Prof. Andrius Bielskis and funded by the Lithuanian Science Council.