The New Renaissance: What Does it Look Like? (EP1)
The Vitruvian Man, arguably one of the most famous works of Leonardo Davinci, depicts the perfect proportions of the human form. His work was inspired by the work of Polykleitos, a Greek sculptor from the 5th Century BC, who were also trying to encapsulate the essence of humanity at its most ideal.
But what does it really mean to be human?
As a specie, we are not physically the strongest, however, what we lack in strength, we compensate in brain power. This allowed us to form languages to communicate concepts, tell stories and make informed decisions. In this age where artificial intelligence and bio-technology are on the rise, one might re-question what it really means to be human.
Perhaps we need to consider ourselves as a “neoluvian man” – understanding how human can coexist with technology.
Stories like an AI chess player beating a human world chess champion is not so surprising to us anymore. Perhaps one of the most notorious case is Facebook. In 2017, the researchers from Facebook AI Research Lab were trying to improve its chatbot function by leaving the bots to converse with each other. However, like a terrifying scene from a sci-fi movie, these bots began to diverge from their original task, talking in new language they have created. This unexpected development forced Facebook to shut down the AI system.
Other industry experts such as Elon Musk and Professor Stephen Hawking had raised concerns that AI could surpass human. As Musk had announced at the Southwest Tech Conference in Texas 2018 “Mark my words, AI is far more dangerous than nukes.”
Reading up to this point, you might argue that these robots cannot replace humans in terms of creativity. It is true that certain industries lend themselves more to automation, nevertheless the rise of bio-technology can also have an effect on the creative industry. If we were to judge art by the emotional effect it has on the viewer, then some algorithm could be written to understand emotions.
As explained by Harari in his book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, emotions are not mysterious phenomenon; they are the output of biochemical process. In the future, we could potentially gather biometric data based on sensors inside our bodies. As a result, art such as music could perhaps be written by artificial intelligence as it understands what kind of notes create certain emotional reactions.
These ideas might seem miles away and not yet relevant to our current day-to-day lives, so let’s take a look at where we are right now in the next episode.