Conference:  Humanism and AI

Much has been said about human-centered AI in the past few years, and the expression has become omnipresent in particular since OpenAI launched ChatGPT in November 2022. Advances in generative AI have prompted governments and industry all over the world to pass privacy protection acts and engage academics in the development of an ethics of AI. In all these conversations, the word “human” seems to have made an unexpected comeback, especially considering the discursive preeminence of such topics as the Anthropocene, post- and transhumanism, planetary and interspecies ethics, ecocriticism, and animal studies. Now the question is whether we can speak of the “human” and of conceptions of the human in the age of generative AI without recourse to one of the oldest philosophical and cultural systems dealing precisely with the anthropos: Humanism. From the Digital Humanism initiative in Vienna and the HAI (Human-Centered AI) institute at Stanford to the NHNAI (New Humanism at the time of Neurosciences and AI) initiative in Nairobi, so-called humanist perspectives have become so dominant that even CEOs urge us “to put humanism at the center of generative AI to reap its rewards” (Harvard Business Review, Julien 2023). What is the nature of this new Humanism? What connections does it have to its traditional forms? What examples are there of Humanist AI in contemporary culture and what image of Humanism is promoted by industry, the business world, and media today? We invite you to discuss these and further questions over the course of the conference.

Humanism and AI
© Dr. Ana Ilievska

When and Where

Date: 23–24.05.2024

Thursday, 23.05.24 
09:00  - 20:30 

Friday, 24.05.24
09:30 - 14:30 


Center for Science and Thought

Konrad-Zuse-Platz 1-3, Bonn Oberkassel, 53227

seminar room (third floor)

Day 1


9.30-10 – Introductory Remarks by Ana Ilievska (Bonn)
10-12– Humanism(s)

-       Abhiruchi Ojha (Delhi) and Leslie Keerthi Kumar SM (Delhi): “Becoming Truly Human in the Future: Reflections on a Post-Labor Human Society”
-       Oliver Braganza (Bonn) – “Digital Humanism”
-       Michael J. Thate (Princeton) – “By What Measure? The Scale Problem of Life, AI, and the Anthropocene”
-       Eleanor Drage (Cambridge) – “Planetary Humanism: Recovering the Space of the Incalculable”
12-14 – Lunch Break
14-15.30 – Philosophical Perspectives

-       Martin Baesler (Freiburg): “Friends with AI? Some Considerations on Hannah Arendt’s Political Humanism”
-       Sandrine Hansen (Copenhagen): “Self-Actualization and Inhibition in Generative AI”
-       Marco Russo (Salerno) – “Implementing Wisdom: Machines, phronesis, and the Good Life”
15.30-16 – Coffee Break
16-17.30 – Cultural Perspectives

-       Wu Lanxiang (Southeast University, China) – “When AI Characters Misalign with Human Intensions: Murder and Morality in Robert Sawyer’s The Terminal Experiment”
-       Serge Goriely (Louvain) – “Humanism, Love, and AI: A Comparative Exploration in Contemporary Cinema”
-       Paolo Orrù (Cagliari) – “The Human-Machine Relationship: Artificial Intelligence and Human Perception in Italian Media Discourse”
17.30-19 – Break

19.00-20.30 – Keynote Address
Robert Pogue Harrison (Stanford) – TBA
followed by a discussion with
Markus Gabriel (Bonn) and Maurizio Ferraris (Torino)

20.30 Reception on CST Roof Terrace

Day 2


9.30-11  – The Human Condition in the Age of AI

-       Sirio Zolea (Roma Tre) and Wen Xiang (Copenhagen) – “Humanism in Judiciary Decision in the Age of AI: Comparative Perspectives”
-       Julia Mönig (Bonn) – “The Human behind Human-Centric AI”  
-       Paolo Pellecchia (Vitoria University Madrid) – ‘Transcending the Limits of trasumanar in the Finite? On Boundaries and Edges of the Human Condition” 

11-11.30 – Coffee Break
11.30-12 – Screening of short film “The Best Option” (2022), dir. Serge Goriely
12-14 – AI in Search of an Author

-       Gianmaria Ajani (Torino) – “AI, Arts, and Human Creativity: A Challenge to Classical Regulations”  
-       Ginevra Latini (Siena) – “The Word ‘Anthropos’ and the Writing Machine”
-       João Pedro Cachopo (Lisbon NOVA) – “The Task of the Essayist in the Age of AI: Technology, Creativity, and the Definition of the Human”
-       Andrea Sartori (Nankai University) – “Is Bio-Fiction Something More than a Literary Genre?”
14-14.30 – Concluding Remarks by Ana Ilievska (Bonn)

 Desirable Digitalisation: Rethinking AI for Just and Sustainable Futures

This conference is organized as part of the ‘Desirable Digitalization: Rethinking AI for Just and Sustainable Futures’ research project, a collaboration between the Universities of Bonn and Cambridge, funded by Stiftung Mercator. The goal of the project is to explore how AI (artificial intelligence) and other digital technologies are influenced by concepts of the human and how they can be designed to be responsible, socially just and ecologically sustainable.


Avatar Ilievska

Ana Ilievska


Universität Bonn, Center for Science and Thought, Institut für Philosophie, Konrad-Zuse-Platz 1-3

53227 Bonn

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