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We are delighted to have Professor in Digital Culture and Society Mercedes Bunz as one of this year’s speakers of our Goethe Annual Lecture series at the Goethe-Institut London. Her talk explores the particular power of AI systems using work from contemporary artists to reveal the human misunderstanding regarding AI.

As part of the Goethe-Institut London's 60th anniversary, we are celebrating with 3 Goethe Annual Lectures this year featuring author Mithu Sanyal, musician Matthew Herbert and Professor Mercedes Bunz.

In her talk, Mercedes Bunz will dig into the ways contemporary AI systems ‘calculate meaning’ - a field traditionally assigned to culture. She will explore ways in which AI systems analyse our world, and could transform our culture by assisting us with their intelligence – albeit not human intelligence.

Using work from contemporary artists and researchers such as Memo Atken, Rafik Anadol, Stephanie Dinkins, Adam Harvey, and Allison Parrish, the talk will discuss not only how artists can help us in understanding the particular power of AI systems, but also how AI systems make sense of our world and symbols. At the same time, these playful, curious, and sometimes critical artistic approaches toward AI point to something else according to Mercedes Bunz: a profound human misunderstanding of the culture of AI.

Mercedes Bunz is a professor in Digital Culture and Society at the Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London. She studied Philosophy, Art History, and Media Studies at the FU Berlin and the Bauhaus University Weimar, and wrote her thesis on ‘The history of the internet-driven by a deep curiosity about digital technology'. Until today, she has not been disappointed by the transforming field that is digital technology, which provides her reliably with new aspects to think constantly about.

At the moment, that is Artificial Intelligence and ‘machine learning’. Delving into the topics of AI and ‘machine learning’, Bunz co-leads the Creative AI Lab, a collaboration with the Serpentine Gallery, London. Her latest publications are 'How Not to Be Governed Like That by Our Digital Technologies' in The Ends of Critique: Methods, Institutions, Politics, edited by K. Thiele, B. Kaiser, T. O’Leary (Rowman & Littlefield) and with Claudia Aradau 'Dismantling the apparatus of domination? Left critiques of AI' in Radical Philosophy.

Past speakers of our Annual Lecture include Dan Hicks (2021), Sharon Dodua Otoo (2020), John Kampfner (2019), Brendan Simms (2018), Anne McElvoy (2017), Neil MacGregor (2016), Christopher Clark (2014), David Chipperfield (2012), Norman Rosenthal (2010), Tacita Dean (2006), Peter Jonas (2005), Ian Kershaw (2003), Richard Wentworth (2002) and AS Byatt (2001).

Event details

Goethe-Institut London
Goethe Institut 50 Princes Gate Exhibition Road London SW7 2PH