15 November 2021


特別講演会 - AI時代の社会科学:挑戦と論争

Critique of AI: Conditions and Consequences

Prof Anthony Elliott

InElliott Book.png this lecture, Cambridge-trained sociologist Anthony Elliott argues that much of what passes for conventional wisdom about the AI Revolution is either ill-considered or plain wrong.  The reason?  AI is not so much about the future, but is rather a revolution already well underway – albeit one which is unfolding in complex and uneven ways across the globe.  From industrial robots to chatbots, and from driverless cars to military drones – AI, Elliott argues, is transforming all aspects of our lives, from the most intimate aspects of personal relationships to the changing nature of work, employment and unemployment.

The lecture explores how automated intelligent machines, predictive algorithms, advanced robotics and big data are impacting everyday life and modern societies.  In the first half of the lecture, Elliott addresses some of the complex systems that automate our lives in the algorithmic era.    The discussion focuses on five core institutional transformations associated with AI: (1) the increasing scale of AI; (2) automaticity; (3) the growing diffusion of AI technologies in institutional and everyday life; (4) the trend towards complexity; and (5) the penetration of AI systems into lifestyle change.

The second half of the lecture investigates the future of AI.  Elliott draws from social theory to sketch a broad-ranging view of several possible futures and not just a narrow blueprint of how technology might shape our AI-enabled world.  He discusses the following scenarios: (1) The Future Now: COVID-19 and Global AI; (2) Networked Artificial Life; (3) 2045: The Technological Singularity; and (4) AI Climate Futures.

Professor Elliott's lecture draws on themes and research from his upcoming book, Making Sense of AI: Our algorithmic world.


ANTHONY ELLIOTT is Dean of External Engagement at the University of South Australia, where he is Research Professor of Sociology and Executive Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and Network. He is Super-Global Guest Professor in the Graduate School of Human Relations at Keio University, Japan and Visiting Professor of Sociology at UCD, Ireland.  He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences UK and Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.  In 2018, he was appointed to the Expert Working Group of the Academy of the Council of Learned Academies to report on the ethical development of AI in Australia. The report was commissioned by the Chief Scientist of Australia, Dr Alan Finkel, at the request of the Prime Minister’s Commonwealth Science Council, and with support from the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Prof Elliott is the author and editor of over 40 books in social theory, including most recently The Culture of AI (2019, Routledge) and Making Sense of AI: Our Algorithmic World (2021, Polity). He is editor of The Routledge Social Science Handbook of AI (2021, Routledge).  His forthcoming book Algorithmic Intimacy will be published by Polity in 2022.

In AI We Trust: Power, illusion and control of predictive algorithms

Prof Helga Nowotny


One of the most persistent concerns about the future is whether it will be dominated by the predictive algorithms of AI – and, if so, what this will mean for our behaviour, for our institutions and what it means to be human. AI changes our experience of time and the future and challenges our identities, yet we are blinded by its efficiency and fail to understand how it affects us.

At the heart of our trust in AI lies a paradox: we leverage AI to increase our control over the future and uncertainty, while at the same time the performativity of AI, the power it has to make us act in the ways it predicts, reduces our agency over the future. This happens when we forget that we humans have created the digital technologies to which we attribute agency. These developments also change the narrative of progress, which played such a central role in modernity and is based on the hubris of total control. We are now moving into an era where this control is limited as AI monitors our actions and even our emotions, posing the threat of surveillance, but also offering the opportunity to reappropriate control and, perhaps, transform it into care.

As we try to adjust to a digital mirro-world in which algorithms, robots and vast digital infrastructures play an ever-increasing role, we need to understand better the limitations of AI and how their predictions affect our agency, while at the same time having the courage to embrace the uncertainty of the future. It is all too easy to fall into the trap between the visions of enthusiastic techno-nerds and the dystopian views of those who fear humans will be controlled by the machines they created. Humanity has embarked on an open-ended and dynamical, co-evolutionary process that intertwines humans with digital machines. This coincides with the urgency of the present in which humanity faces an unprecedented sustainability crisis. For a long time to come, if ever, we have only this planet as our habitat and the environmental niche that humanity has carved out for itself is becoming increasingly precarious. Digitalization will therefore not only change what it means to be human, but also our relationship with the environmental-digital niche we inhabit.

Professor Nowotny's lecture draws on themes and research from her upcoming book, In AI We Trust: Power, Illusion and Control of Predictive Algorithms.

imagenx2p.pngHELGA NOWOTNY is Professor emerita of Science and Technology Studies, ETH Zurich,  and a founding member of the European Research Council. In 2007 she was elected  ERC Vice President and from March 2010 until December 2013 President of the ERC.  Currently she is member of the Austrian Council and Vice-President of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. She is Nanyang Technological University Singapore Visiting Professor.

From 2014-2019 she was Chair of the ERA Council Forum Austria,
She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University, NY. and a doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of Vienna. She has held teaching and research positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, Vienna; Kings College, Cambridge; University of Bielefeld; Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin; Ecole des Hautes Etudes an Sciences Sociales, Paris; Science Center for Social Sciences, Berlin; Collegium Budapest; Budapest.

Before joining ETH Zurich, Professor Nowotny was Professor for Science and Technology Studies at the University of Vienna. Among other, Helga Nowotny is Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and continues to serve on many international advisory boards in Austria and throughout Europe. Just to mention a few: she is Member of the Steering Board of the Falling Walls Foundation, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Complexity Science Hub Vienna, Chair of Advisory Board of The Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity Paris, Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institut d etudes avancees de Paris and Member of the Strategic Research Advisory Board of the Austrian Institute of Technology. Helga Nowotny has published widely in Science and Technology Studies, STS, and on social time. Throughout her professional career Helga Nowotny has been engaged in science and innovation policy matters and continues to serve as advisor at national and EU level. From 2001 till 2005 she was Chair of the European Research Advisory Board, EURAB, advising the European Commission.

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