The Jean Monnet Lecture Series is an initiative of the UniSA Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and the Cooperative, Connected and Automated Mobility: EU and Australasian Innovations (CCAMEU) Jean Monnet Network. The lectures recorded in this series are delivered by prominent European and Australian intellectuals and experts and focus on global issues concerning European integration and EU-Australia relations.

Lecture 4: Professor Anthony Elliott
"Democracy After AI" - Presentation at Biennale Democrazia 2021, Turin Italy

Presented at the Biennale Democrazia 2021, Turin Italy.

In this provocative lecture delivered at the Biennale Democrazia, Turin Italy, Professor Elliott discusses how Artificial Intelligence is impacting a key underpinning of democracy, namely the relationship between public and private worlds.

There has been an emerging consensus that the arrival of the digital revolution signals the end of privacy - AI is now ubiquitous, and every person’s digital experiences can be monitored, manipulated or censored. Yet rather than an erosion of privacy, Professor Elliott suggests that the ‘private’ in our age of intensive AI might in fact be reinforced in its very privacy. he possibility of conversation or translation between private and public worlds has become increasingly detached from politics, subject to behind the scenes government surveillance programs, or direct AI-driven business models of profit.

The logical consequence in a political context would seem to be that the future of democracy is profoundly threatened by the escalating impotence of representative public institutions in the face of digital transformation, accompanied by a failure of politics to harness common social issues from private insecurities, worries and concerns. As the late Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman noted: “the most haunting of political mysteries is nowadays not so much ‘what to do’, as ‘who would do it, if we knew’”. The basic implication of Bauman’s position is that people today are highly attuned to their limited freedom of manoeuvre in a world of bewildering global transformation.

There is also a more positive side, however. The culture of AI creates a new blend of identity-politics, mingling humans and automated intelligent machines. The consequences of this are not so much the institutionalization of surveillance power structures against the individual, but rather a radical reconfiguration of the politics of life itself. These are the new stakes of democracy in the digital age, and there remains everything still to play for!

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.

Lecture 3: Professor Helga Nowotny
"In AI We Trust: Power, Illusion and Control of Predictive Algorithms"

Presented by the UniSA Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and UniSA Justice & Society in association with the University of Vienna.

As we move into a world in which algorithms, robots and avatars play an ever increasing role, we need to better understand the nature of AI and its implications for human agency. In this lecture Professor Nowotny argues that at the heart of our trust in AI lies a paradox: we leverage AI to increase 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.

These developments alter our temporal bearings and the ways in which we experience the present and see the future. We create a mirror world, entering into multiple and dynamic interactions with the digital Others that inhabit it and inducing a rise of identity anxieties. We are now moving into an era where control over the digital machines created by us becomes limited as AI monitors our actions, posing the threat of surveillance, while also offering the opportunity to reappropriate control and transform it into care. The narrative of progress which dominated modernity is no longer sufficient as guidance.

Helga 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.

Lecture 2: Professor Sarah Pink
"Future Automated Mobilities and Possible Worlds"

While there is growing acknowledgement that we need to better account for the social worlds for which future automated mobility systems are envisioned and designed, all too often the impacts of future mobilities systems are commonly understood in technology design, industry and policy fields as technological solutions to both societal problems and individual lives.

In this talk Professor Sarah Pink discusses how technologically driven visions of future automated mobilities can be complicated and more realistically envisioned through a design anthropological approach. Professor Pink draws on research into the future of self-driving cars and Mobility as a Service undertaken with colleagues in Sweden from 2014, across four government funded and industry partnered projects. Her research demonstrates the complexity of how people engage with emerging technologies. It emphasises that without attending to the social, sensory, affective and creative ways that people innovate with technologies in an experiential world we will never understand the possibilities of future mobilities. And it calls for rethinking how concepts such as trust, sharing and personalisation are conceptualised and mobilised in this field.

Professor Pink argues for an approach to future mobility systems that collaboratively and productively complicates how both people and futures are conceptualised in technology design. This approach benefits from a new futures-focused and interventional social science which is equipped with conceptual and methodological capacity to exceed its traditional role and collaborate in the futures space.

Sarah Pink (PhD, FASSA) is Professor and Director of the Emerging Technologies Research Lab and an Associate Director of the Monash Energy Institute at Monash University, Australia. She leads the Transport Mobilities Focus Area, and co-leads the People Programme of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Automated Decision-Making & Society. Sarah is an international Visiting Professor at Halmstad University, Sweden and Loughborough University, UK.

Lecture 1: Professor Malene Freudendal-Pedersen
"Smart cities and automated mobilities or sustainable mobilities and smart urbanism?"

Professor Malene Freudendal-Pedersen from Aalborg University, Denmark, is the CCAMEU Jean Monnet Network's Visiting Scholar

Increasingly guided by the use of ICT, the flow of humans and materials, smart cities and autonomous mobility amalgamates as a game changer to urban planning. But this needs to be discussed in relations to creating more sustainable mobility systems which is not a new issue, but rather one that we have been revisiting during the last 50 years. So far, we are still waiting for an innovative change in the systems that is not only an iteration of existing technologies as for instance Av’s and EV’s. This standstill is to a large degree due to the hegemonic mobility paradigm, working under a predict and provide -driven approach, with little attention to environmental and social externalities. In this lecture, focus is on how innovation in mobility cannot be defined primarily as an issue of new technologies. Instead, it calls for a new understanding interlinked with the cultural values of modern societies, deeply rooted in living in a mobile risk society. Decisions on smart urban mobility in relations to spatial development and technology implementations is often based on data sets, models or simulations where mobility practices are purely understood as individual choices, technological transformations, or economic forces. To create sustainable mobility practices we need robust, socially coherent and inclusive mobility systems that are more than just transport systems and connections.

This paper suggests that sustainable mobility planning needs to move away from a predict and provide outset and instead move towards understanding mobility practices related to urban development, the mix of means of transportation, and the structuration of everyday life mobilities.  Focus becomes how smart city development can contribute to more sustainable mobility practices, and in turn, create human cities. Hajer (2015) reminds us that what we need is smart urbanism rather than smart cities. In this lies an understanding of all the things cities are and not only which technologies we can put into them.

Malene Freudendal-Pedersen is Professor in Urban Planning at Aalborg University and has an interdisciplinary background linking Sociology, Geography, Urban Planning and the Sociology of Technology. Her research focuses on mobilities practices, the interrelation between spatial and digital mobilities and its impacts on everyday life, cities and societies. She is co-organizing the International Cosmobilities Network, co-founder and co-editor of the journal Applied Mobilities and the book-series Networked Urban Mobilities, both at Routledge.