ATHENS — “We all need, as much as we can, to do all we can to help improve education, healthcare, justice, decency, compassion—to bring back hope, for every human soul in this world,” said SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos in his opening remarks at the 2021 SNF Nostos Conference.
The theme of this year’s conference, Humanity and Artificial Intelligence, was one that has profound implications for each of those fields, and for our hopes for a brighter future.
Opening the conference, Dracopoulos welcomed attendees and dozens of speakers from around the world, setting the stage for a day designed to catalyze robust discussion on the future of our species. “We humans are partly responsible for having compromised/commoditized our own humanity in so many ways. Our humanity has been weakened and has become vulnerable. We have all seen this in a clear way during the ongoing COVID pandemic. We have been exposed, but maybe at the same time we have been given another chance to collectively regroup.”
The two days of panel discussions and artistic interludes focused on everything from how to create a future with AI that we want to live in, to the interplay between art and algorithm, to the impacts of artificial intelligence technology in democracy, climate change, and every other sphere of life.
In closing the conference, Andreas asserted that advancing AI offers us an opportunity, if we have the courage to take it, to reevaluate and reaffirm what makes us human. Picking up on the optimism expressed in the panel featuring young people on day one, Andreas expressed confidence in the next generation and that technology will, on the balance, improve human lives.
He offered key takeaways from the discussions: We must be vigilant about making sure we hear from voices that have so far been marginalized in decision-making. Civic discourse and civic engagement, as well as modern “agora” spaces, will only grow in importance. And we need to find a way to make sure that our data is used in a way that centers our humanity.
After all, “AI is here to stay.”