Recordings

The Chinese Room Argument revisited

John Searle

In the midst of 2015’s debates on the risks and possibilities of artificial intelligence which were fueled by the progress of self-driving cars, autonomous robotics, and the signature of an open letter in favor of AI security, Google invited philosopher John Searle to elaborate once more on his Chinese Room Argument of 1980.

The Chinese Room Argument was designed to demonstrate the impossibility of creating true intelligence out of computer code by comparing it to a hotel room that contains detailed instructions on how to respond to sequences of Mandarin characters. While a person who follows these instructions impeccably could lead an observer to believe that a dialogue between two Chinese speakers is taking place, the user of these instructions would in fact not need to understand a single character. Therefore, Searle argued, the Turing Test is inadequate, as it does not take true understanding of the input into account, but rather judges only the quality of the output. At its core, the Chinese Room Argument defends the notion of intelligence as a unique property of biological entities, something machines can at best simulate but...

Keywords: John Searle

'Excuse me' by - delta t, 1984

Minus Delta T

- delta t (Minus Delta t) has been - and still, in variants, is - a group of artists who created seminal works in performance and media art since 1978. Early members included Bernhard Müller, Mike Hentz and Karel Dudesek as well as Chrislo Haas or Gerard Couty. Aiming to initiate a processual and participatory form of art, many of them would re-join their expertise to develop emancipatory structures and novel modes of using new media technology for art experiments. The Iron Curtain had just fallen when in 1992, the “Piazza Virtuale” project connected 17 studios on three continents over satellite from its headquarter, hosted in containers in central Germany.

de: Die Gruppe verfolgte einen prozeßhaften und partizipatorischen Kunstbegriff, der zunehmend den emanzipatorischen Gebrauch der Medien umfasste. Ihr wichtigstes Projekt war Anfang der achtziger Jahre das »Bangkok Projekt« – es wurde ein Felsblock auf dem Landweg bis nach Bangkok transportiert, um Ereignisse im öffentlichen Raum auszulösen. Ab Mitte der achtziger Jahre begann Minus Delta t, sich umzuorientieren, die Medien wurden immer mehr als der zentrale Ansatzpunkt für eine Kunst, die einen...

Keywords: Minus Delta T, music;

The Yes Men and Edward Snowden at Roskilde Festival

The Yes Men; Roskilde Festival 16; Edward Snowden

During the Roskilde festival 2016, activist art group The Yes Men had set up fake signs stating that the festival would be collecting and infinitely storing all text and phone conversations of visitors on festival grounds.

Before the nature of the signs was revealed as a provocative prank, many festival-goers showed both despair and anger. The group’s stunt culminated in a live performance with a fake Edward Snowden who got on stage in the role of an almost tech-illiterate imposter, and finally a talk given by the real Snowden via web stream.

The whole process has been documented by The Yes Men as a 12-minute film about digital surveillance, the data stunt, and Edward Snowden’s talk.

Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age

Manuel Castells

Sociologist Manuel Castells examines the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and other social movements that have emerged in the Internet Age. He shares his observations on the recurring patterns in these movements: their origins, their use of new media, and their goal of transforming politics in the interest of the people. Castells presents what he sees to be the shape of the social movements of the Internet age, and discusses the implications of these movements for social and political change.

Keywords: Manuel Castells

On Apple vs. FBI, privacy, the NSA, and more

Edward Snowden; Nick Gillespie

On February 20, Edward Snowden addressed a wide range of questions during an in-depth interview with Reason’s Nick Gillespie at Liberty Forum, a gathering of the Free State Project (FSP) in Manchester, New Hampshire. FSP seeks to move 20,000 people over the next five years to New Hampshire, where they will strive to secure “liberty in our lifetime” by affecting the political, economic, and cultural climate of the state.

Snowden’s cautionary tale about the the dangers of state surveillance wasn’t lost on his audience of libertarians and anarchists. He believes that technology has given rise to unprecedented freedom for individuals around the world—but he says so from an undisclosed location in authoritarian Russia. And he reminds us that governments also have unprecedented potential to surveil their populations at a moment’s notice, without anyone ever realizing what’s happening.

In the midst of a fiercely contested presidential race, Snowden remains steadfast in his distrust of partisan politics and declined to endorse any particular candidate or party, or even...

Music for Computers

Goodiepal; Leo Findeisen

At the Berlin transmediale 2015, Danish musician and performer Goodiepal presented his performance-installation “Drop-In or Drop Out!”, a continuation of his acclaimed “El Camino Del Hardcore - Rejsen Til Nordens Indre…” (2009-12). Through his installation, he focused on the way technological inventions such as the Internet have formalized knowledge and the capability of the human psyche to imagine things beyond this formalization.

In order to reclaim a space of imagination, Goodiepal has been engaged in the creation of what he calls “unscannable” objects and practices in the past few years. The publication of “El Camino Del Hardcore” follows this logic, as it is constantly evolving, handmade and not available online, contains encrypted texts and is assembled from the author’s sometimes incomplete personal memories.

The short interview he gave during the festival provides additional information on the development of Goodiepal’s work as a traveling performer on a self-made bike, his former occupation as a lecturer at the Danish Royal Academy of Arts, and his personal outlook on the relation of artificial intelligence and the arts.

The Lifecycle of a Revolution

Jennifer Granick; Jeff Moss; Phillipe Courtot

In 2015, Jennifer Granick was the keynote speaker at Black Hat, the annual conference of the global InfoSec community held in Las Vegas (UT). In her talk, she argued that 20 years from now, the internet might complete its shift from liberator to oppressor. According to her, centralization, regulation, and an increasingly divided community of users have slowly subverted the dream of a free and open internet. These developments will continue to form the future of communication and information, and transform the internet into a slick, controlled, and closed thing. While it might still be possible to prevent this from happening, Granick believes that in the next 20 years we will need to get ready to smash the Internet apart and build something new and better.

Jennifer Granick is the director of Civil Liberties at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. Outside of academia, she is mostly known as the attorney who defended some of the more notorious criminal hackers around, including Kevin Poulsen, Aaron Swartz, Jerome Heckenkamp and the hackers in the Diebold Election Systems case.

The video of the speech as well...

Europe vs. Facebook

Max Schrems; John Kennedy

“It is essential to me not to spread apocalyptic sentiments. It is about to call on people, like I do in my book, that improvements can actually be achieved and that we, the citizens, are in no way helpless when it comes to our rights.”

The story of Mac Schrems is one of engaging in a hard, long struggle that reached a pivotal moment in October 2015, when the European High Court ruled that the US can no longer portray themselves as a ‘safe harbor’ for the data trails of European citizens.

On 26 June 2013, the law student turned privacy activist filed a complaint against “Facebook Ireland”, the international headquarter of Facebook Inc., with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. Schrems argued that the transfer of customer data to the US, where these data were processed, constitutes a “transfer to a third country,” which is only legal in the European Union if the receiving country can guarantee adequate protection of these data. Because the data is forwarded from Facebook Inc. to the NSA and other US authorities for mass surveillance programs, the...

Austrian State Protection Law meets with resistance

Karin Kneissl; Gebrüder Moped; Jana Herwig; Peter Purgathofer; Ilya Trojanov; Maria Wittmann-Tiwald; Thomas Zierhofer-Kin

(in deutscher Sprache & english translation) Before the end of autumn 2015, the new Staatsschutzgesetz (State Protection Law) is meant to be passed by the Austrian Parliament. Criticism of the proposed law comes from all sectors of society.

Noch diesen Herbst 2015 soll das Staatsschutzgesetz im Nationalrat beschlossen werden. Kritik am geplanten Gesetz kommt aus allen Bereichen der Gesellschaft.

with: Ilya Trojanov (novelist and translator), Karin Kneissl (lawyer and diplomat, expert on the Middle East), Maria Wittmann-Tiwald (judge, Committe for Fundamental Rights of the Association of Austrian Judges), Gebrüder Moped (comedians), Jana Herwig (media scientist), Tomas Zierhofer-Kin (des. curator of Wiener Festwochen and curator of donaufestival Krems), Peter Purgathofer (professor for media design and human computer interaction, Vienna University of Technology)

Zusätzliche Informationen stehen unter https://www.akvorrat.at/ zur Verfügung....

We are in jeopardy of losing our democracies

William Binney

This is a special keynote the whistleblower and former NSA intelligence official Bill Binney gave in Munich in January 2014 on the occasion of the annual Handelsblatt-Tagung “Strategisches IT-Management”.

During his speech, he outlined the procedures he helped to develop to manage the enormous amount of data gathered via automated analysis of electronic communication, ways to analyze metadata to generate profiles of suspicious groups, and how to use this information to predict potential dangers.

In the second part of his presentation, Binney emphasized that NSA operations (as well as the use of their data by other agencies) are fundamentally unconstitutional, as the US constitution does not only prohibit intelligence agencies from gathering information on domestic matters, but also from using or dispersing it for other purposes, such as criminal investigations.

With reference to the technical specifics of the fiber optic network...

Keywords: William Binney