Webfare: A Deep Dive

This workshop follows up on the Mercator Lecture for AI in the Human Context by Visiting Professor Maurizio Ferraris on June 09, 2023 and offers the opportunity to dive deeper into the concept of WEBFARE, its philosophical and economic background and socio-political implications. This Deep Dive is also an invitation to change formats and actively join the conversation. Together with Dr. Ana Ilievska (Bonn/Stanford) as respondent, we will discuss the soon to be published book by Prof. Maurizio Ferraris: Webfare. A Manifesto for Social Wellbeing. All registered participants will be provided with an excerpt of the book in advance. Webfare is a term derived from "Welfare", meaning the restitution to humanity of the wealth it produces on the Web. This wealth is novel because, although the actions and behavior it records date back to the origin of the human species, these had not been documented and transformed into data (i.e., into potential capital) until now. Furthermore, this new wealth is rich, because it provides us with an unprecedentedly granular description of humanity's present and past activities, something called "Artificial Intelligence," instead of simply telling us how much money a group of people have, as in banking capital, or their expectations with respect to the future, as in financial capital. Third, it is a renewable asset, as the ownership of data has the characteristic of the publicity of ideas. Unlike tangible assets, data can be given away without the owner having to deprive themselves of it. Finally, and most importantly, it is an equitable wealth that is built by the inexhaustible and egalitarian function of need, which makes all human beings equal, rather than the problematic and disputable phenomenon of merit.

Optional reading for the seminar: Download here

Webfare: A Deep Dive
© Joline Kretschmer

Zeit: 12 June 2023, 10 am - 1 pm

Ort: Center for Science and Thought (Konrad-Zuse-Platz 1-3), 3. OG und via Zoom.

The seminar will be held in English. 

Desirable Digitalisation: Rethinking AI for Just and Sustainable Futures

The project "Desirable Digitization: Rethinking AI for Just and Sustainable Futures" is a joint research program of the Universities of Cambridge and Bonn, funded by Stiftung Mercator. It explores 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..

Maurizio Ferraris is full Professor of Philosophy at the University of Turin, where he is the President of the LabOnt – Center for Ontology. He has worked in the field of aesthetics, hermeneutics, and social ontology, attaching his name to the theory of Documentality and contemporary New Realism. Maurizio Ferraris is the author of more than fifty books that have been translated into several languages, for example History of Hermeneutics (Humanities Press, 1996); A Taste for the Secret (with Jacques Derrida – Blackwell, 2001); Documentality or Why it is Necessary to Leave Traces (Fordham UP, 2012); Goodbye Kant! (SUNY UP, 2013); Where Are You? An Ontology of the Cell Phone (Fordham UP, 2014); Manifesto of New Realism (SUNY UP, 2014); Introduction to New Realism (Bloomsbury, 2014); Positive Realism (Zer0 Books, 2015).

Dr. Ana Ilievska

Ana Ilievska is Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center and a board member and member of the Pirandello Society of America. She completed her PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago in 2020. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Romance Studies and Comparative Literature from Eberhard Karls University Tübingen (2011, 2013). She was previously a Humanities Teaching Fellow at the College and the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago (2020-2021), as well as a lecturer at the Università degli Studi di Catania in Sicily (2020). There she was also a Fulbright PhD student. Her research focuses on nineteenth and early twentieth century literature, in particular on the relationship between literature, the industrial revolution and technology from a southern perspective, especially in the works of the authors Luigi Pirandello, Giovanni Verga, Carlo Collodi and Matilde Serao, in dialogue with futurists.

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