Cyberculture under discussion in the GNRation space

The presentation of the book Cibercultura, circum-navegações em redes transculturais de conhecimento, that was coordinated by Helena Pires (a lecturer in the Department of Communication Sciences and a researcher at the Communication and Society Research Center-CECS of University of Minho), Manuel Curado (a lecturer of the Institute of Letters and Human Sciences and researcher at the Center for Humanistic Studies at the University of Minho), Pedro Andrade (researcher at CECS) and Fábio Ribeiro (a lecturer at University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto-Douro- UTAD, and researcher at CECS), and edited in partnership by CECS and Edições Húmus, was presented at December 19th, in the GNRation space, in Braga. In this session were also present Pedro Branco, Director of EngageLab of the University of Minho, Moisés de Lemos Martins, Director of CECS and João Martinho Moura, digital artist, author of the image of the cover of the book.

The theme of the publication was discussed by the participants from multiple points of view. Helena Pires opened the discussion with the following motto: “Euphoric visions, marvel at technological innovations, on the one hand, and catastrophic visions, on the other, summarize, seemingly and grossly, the approaches that are observed today in our society. Sophia, presented at the Web Summitt 2017 in Lisbon, a robot capable of developing a conversation with humans, or the previous Erica, created by Ishiguro, promises us new technological configurations, such as true intimate-machines or domestic partners, capable of offering us companionship, possibility of interlocution, and even ‘emotional’ reactions expressed in the magic of the algorithms that command their facial interface”.

Pedro Branco shared a first reading of the book, highlighting a “poetic and philosophical dimension” explained in a first part of the publication, in contrast to a more pragmatic approach reflected in some of the empirical and case studies presented in the second part.

Moisés de Lemos Martins stressed the importance to think in the contemporaneity about the conditions of our technological experience, referring to a kind of inevitability, a “crossing made of dangers” in which we can not stop being invested.

Manuel Curado spoke about the strangeness of our connection to the “webs” of our thinking and action, through a brief exposition concerning the archeology of the relationship we establish with the technological devices that permeate daily life in the contemporary world.

Finally, in a second moment, João Martinho Moura presented his artistic work, culminating with a reflection on his most recent work “How do computers imagine humans?”. The artist finished his presentation by saying that “artificial Intelligence is us”, while noting the challenges that the latest inventions in this field pose to us in ever more surprising terms.