Serdecznie zapraszamy na Science Fiction Day, które odbędzie się 28. września br. na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim, Wydział Fizyki (ul.Pasteura 5)

Organizatorem wydarzenia jest Ambasada Republiki Federalnej Niemiec w Warszawie, we współpracy z Niemiecką Centralą Wymiany Akademickiej (DAAD), Fundacją Konrada Adenauera oraz Szkołą Filmową w Łodzi.

Science Fiction Day odbędzie się w języku angielskim.

Zgłoszenia na adres (do 25.09):

Szczegółowy program (w języku angielskim)

10.00 – 10.45

Prof. Piotr J. Durka, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Physics

Title: Brain-computer interfaces

“Brain-computer interfaces” the lecture will start by explaining the basics of a BCI (brain-computer interface), in particular the difference between mind-reading and using brain activity to control a physical device. Building on this knowledge we will discuss the state of the art and major challenges, in the context of assistive technologies and research on assessment of disorders of consciousness. Finally, we will present recent hardware and software solutions for BCIs achieved by BrainTech Ltd.

Prof. Piotr Durka started Polish research on brain-computer interfaces (BCI) and created world’s first Neuroinformatics BSc curriculum at the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw. As the president of he implements software and hardware for EEG-based BCIs, ready for real-world applications. More:

10.45 – 11.30

Dr. Dorota Sikora-Fernandez, Faculty of Management University of Lodz, Smart Cities Expert Title: ‘Smart Cities – still an utopia?’

The lecture will start with an explanation of the concept of urban smartness divided into different dimensions/areas of the city. Critical approach to the unification of advanced technologies in cities will be combined with pro-social solutions implemented in response to specific needs of city’s residents. We will also discuss some threats hidden in the uncritical implementation of advanced technologies in cities. Finally the best practices of urban smartness will be presented.

Dr. Dorota Sikora-Fernandez investigates urban smartness both in the context of technological solutions and soft investments in the social area. She completed scientific internships in the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland, USA, Novosibirsk State University, Russia and at the Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina dealing with urban intelligence’s measurement. More:

11.30 – 12.15

Dr. Alexis Smith, Institute of Planetary Research, DLR, Berlin

Title: Planet Research: Are we alone in the universe

In recent decades, research addressing what is surely one of humanity’s oldest questions has emerged from the shadows of pseudo-science and science fiction to become ‘astrobiology’ – one of the most dynamic fields in 21st century science. In this lecture, I will review the progress made in searching both for life, and for planets and moons that could harbour life – within our Solar System, and beyond it. In particular, the last few years have seen a vast increase in our knowledge of exoplanets (planets orbiting stars other than our Sun). Some, but certainly not all, of these exoplanets are thought to be places where life could exist. I will address the future prospects, in both the short and long term, of finally answering the age-old question “Are we alone in the universe?”. Where will we be able to search for life? What will this life look like if we find it?”

Alexis Smith is a British astronomer who studied physics at the University of Durham, and completed a PhD in the field of exoplanets at the University of St Andrews in 2009. Since then he has worked at Keele University, and at the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center (CAMK) in Warsaw, and is currently employed as a research scientist at the German Aerospace Center’s Institute for Planetary Research in Berlin. Alexis’ research is focused on exoplanets (planets orbiting stars beyond our Sun), specifically their detection and characterization through the transit method. He has worked on several successful planet detection surveys, including WASP (Wide Angle Search for Planets) and NGTS (Next Generation Transit Survey), contributing to the discovery of more than one hundred exoplanets. He is a member of the CHEOPS (Characterizing Exoplanets Satellite) Science Team – a European Space Agency satellite to study exoplanets that will be launched next year. More:

12.15 – 13.00

R. Prof. Dott. Dr. Dr. Dr. Roland Benedikter, Co-Head, Center for Advanced StudiesEurac Research/ Bozen / Italy, European Union, Multidisciplinary Political Analysis, Willy Brandt Centre, University of Wroclaw-Breslau

Title: Homo Deus – convergence of man and machine

We live in an age where humans and machines are converging. Cyborgs (machine-man) on the one hand and AI robots with a human appearance (man-machines) on the other hand are rapidly evolving. “Transhumanism” is the ideology which is promoting both – with increasing success. “Transhumanism” literally means: “the aspiration of going beyond the current human being, of overcoming the present human condition. It is an influential ideology among managers, thinkers, investors, benefactors, decision- and opinion-makers, citizens and politicians aiming at melting the human body and spirit with machines, for example through the broad diffusion and application of Brain-Computer Interfaces and Brain-Machine Interfaces which are going civilizational mainstream. Such development toward a technologically “enhanced” “neo-humanity” is in full swing. Yet although it appears like science fiction, it is real. It attracts billions of speculative and risk investment, and both in Europe and Poland there are Transhumanist movements aiming to becoming mainstream parties to fundamentally change society. Where will this development lead up to? What are its main perspectives, and where are its pros and cons? Featuring spectacular examples, Roland Benedikter discusses the most important aspects of the current “Transhumanist revolution” and its implications, for example the conferral of citizenship to AI robots and the respective legal debate that has already started since October 2017.

Roland Benedikter, Dr. Dr. Dr., is Co-Head of the Center for Advanced Studies of Eurac Research Bozen-Bolzano, the research flagship of the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol, Northern Italy, Research Professor of Multidisciplinary Political Analysis in residence at the Willy Brandt Centre of the University of Wroclaw, Poland, and Affiliate Scholar of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies IEET Hartford, CT, USA.

Break from 13.00 – 14.00 – Lunchboxes in the foyer – Film screening

During the break we screen science-fiction short films of students from the Lodz Film School

1. AUTOBUS, operatorska, Jan Grobliński

2. GRANICE, animacja, Tomasz Bolek

3. OPERATION WHITE WIDOW, animacja, Jacek Mazur

4. POTWORIOZA, animacja, Michał Makowski

5. ALBERT, operatorska, Daniel Wawrzyniak

14.00 – 14.45

Kai-Uwe Kühnberger, Institute of Cognitive Science (IKW) of the University of Osnabrück, Germany

Title: Human-Level Artificial Intelligence: The Science and the Fiction

We will have a look at the current state of play in Artificial Intelligence and critically compare it to the claims and dreams fueling much of the current media coverage of the “renAIssance”. In order to do so, we visit topics like Deep Learning, Cognitive Systems, and Computational Creativity, compare the artificial approaches and implementations to the corresponding human capacities, and assess the chances and possibilities the resulting technology offers now and in the foreseeable future – concluding with a plea for why the future will likely not be (wo)man vs. machine, but much rather a beneficial collaboration overcoming the limitations on either side.

Kai-Uwe Kühnberger is University Professor for Artificial Intelligence at the Institute of Cognitive Science (IKW) of the University of Osnabrück, Germany. He serves currently as the Director of the IKW. He co-authored more than 100 articles in the areas of analogical reasoning, concept blending, ontology design, computational creativity, neural-symbolic integration, machine learning, and other fields. He served as a program committee member in numerous international conferences and as coPC chair of the 6th Conference of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI 2013), Beijing and co-PC chair of the track “Cognition and the Semantic Web” at the Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC 2013), Montpellier. He is furthermore survey editor of the Elsevier Journal “Cognitive Systems Research”, executive editor of the “Journal of Artificial General Intelligence”, and series editor of the book series “Thinking Machines” (Atlantis/Springer). Honors include a SICSA Fellowship (Scottish Informatics and Computer Sicence Alliance) in 2009 and an IBM Faculty Award in 2016.

14.45 – 15.30

Denis Newiak, Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus Title: Facing Urban Loneliness: What We Can Learn from Science Fiction Film for Social City Planning – Filmic Imaginations of the Livable Future Cities For a long time, futurologists and city planners are trying to develop reliable scenarios of urban trends – to date, not always very successfully. At the same time, science fiction movies have long created a collective consciousness of detailed imaginations how city life might look and sound like in the future: The mostly dystopic and uninhabitable lonely future cities comment highly topical issues of urban life, like the increasing presence of artificial intelligence – and how to handle them through smart city planning. By means of contemporary filmic future cities like in “Blade Runner 2049” (2017) and with one of the few utopic urbanities in recent cinema – namely “Her” (2013) –, I want to extract implicit and explicit filmic offers for a progressive and innovative city planning, focusing on ideas how to meet the growing sense of loneliness in the anonymous megacities of tomorrow.

Denis Newiak studied European Media Studies at the University of Potsdam, Germany, and Film Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. He also studied abroad at the University of Copenhagen, and conducted research at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Denis Newiak is currently a Ph.D. student at Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus, Germany, working on his thesis on 5 concepts of community and loneliness in contemporary film theory and popular visual culture. He holds a scholarship from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and is member of the Brandenburg Center for Media Studies. More:

15.30 – 16.15

Dr. Weronika Chańska, Jagiellonen-Universität, Krakau

Title: ‘Genetic selection – genetic discrimination?’

Since the second half of the 20th Century main discoveries in the field of genetics have been made – from the Human Genome Project, through the development of synthetic biology, to the new gene editing technology known as CRISPR/Cas9. They have been welcomed by many people with immense enthusiasm and have boosted hopes for possible future medical interventions. At the same time many voices have been raised to alert the public to the possible risks we face. In particular, some philosophers and bioethicists have been warning that the new discoveries might one day be used to engineer humans and lead to genetic selection and genetic discrimination. The ghost of eugenic practices has been resurrected and invaded the minds of many publicists. During my talk I would try to disentangle some of the most common arguments used in the public debates on genetic engineering. I would comment on the role of science-fiction scenarios in the field of bioethics. Finally, I would argue that we should rather govern our minds by reason and the knowledge of facts than by fears growing out of the products of our, sometimes overactive, imagination.

Weronika Chańska, is a graduate of the Centre for Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in the Humanities, Warsaw University with a master’s degree in philosophy and a graduate from the Helsinki Foundation School for Human Rights. She is an assistant professor at the Jagiellonian University Medical College. Her research interests focus on the concept of quality of life and reproductive ethics. Currently she is involved in an international cooperation analyzing the ethical aspects of prenatal diagnosis. She is the author of Nieszczęsny dar życia [The Unfortunate Gift of Life] (Warsaw, 2009) and co-editor of Bioethics for Medical Professionals (2013). She is a member of Bioethics Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences and a member of executive board of the Polish Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics.

16.15 – 17.00

Tobias Jetzke, Demographic Change and Foresight, VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH Dr. Michael Schubert, Education and Science, VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH , Institute for Innovation and Technic

Title: „The Futures of Learning – between science and fiction”

Science Fiction films, both classic and modern, are usually full of spectacle, entertainment and adventure. They show us far away worlds, aliens and scientific miracles. Yet sometimes they let us glimpse into the daily lives of our heroes, let us experience how life can be in the future – ordinary and familiar. We chose to focus on a certain phase in everyone’s life – the educational period – and ask ourselves: How are schools and universities depicted in Science Fiction films? How do the creators of those movies imagine the education of the future? We complement examples of education in Science Fiction with findings from empirical studies in Germany and compare possible and probable future developments.

Tobias Jetzke, Consultant in the department Demography, Clusters Foresight has a master’s degree in Futures Studies from the Free University Berlin as well as a master’s equivalent degree in Business Administration and Economics from Bayreuth University. Before joining VDI/VDE-IT in 2014 he acquired relevant experience in public management consulting and foresight consulting. At VDI/VDEIT his focus is on conducting foresight exercises and technology assessment for the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB), developing horizon scanning frameworks for the UBA (Umweltbundesamt), Germany’s main environmental protection agency and managing national R&D projects on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) for the BMBF’s RTD programme “Human-Technology-Interaction for Demographic Change”. His current research focus is human machine interaction and demographic change with special attention to mobility, urbanization, environment and space exploration.

Michael Schubert, consultant in the department Education, Science and Humanities holds a bachelor’s degree in Interaction Design as well as a master’s degree in Applied Cognitive Sciences. He is a research fellow of the Applied Cognitive Psychology and Media Psychology department at the University of Tuebingen taking research on computer-supported collaborative learning in different situations, for example in virtual chat rooms or around physical touch-table tops. There, he graduated with a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. Joining VDI/VDE-IT in 2016 he is responsible for managing national R&D projects on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) for the BMBF’s RTD program “Digital teaching and learning in higher education”. Furthermore, he takes research on innovations for the “Continuing Higher Education” sector in Germany.