This is why Waag Futurelab looks at intelligence
‘It is about time to review what we mean by intelligence.’
Throughout the year, Waag Futurelab is taking a closer look at the concept of intelligence. The current focus on artificial intelligence is creating a narrow and problematic view of intelligence. It even carries through to the point where digital systems and technology are even ascribed a "higher" form of intelligence. While the force of AI is not in its intelligence, but primarily in the concentration of data and capital, and thus power, in a small number of companies.
Time for a broader understanding of intelligence. What different forms of intelligence can we distinguish? And what forms do we need for an open, fair and inclusive future? What does the obsession with artificial intelligence bring us? What implications do our current understanding of intelligence have for our education and our future?
The State of the Internet talk: Other Intelligences
In March, we kicked off our search for intelligence at The State of the Internet. The lecture was given by writer, artist, journalist and technologist James Bridle. Their talk was about the current state of AI, where AI is going, and how we can think differently about both "artificial" intelligence and the many other forms of intelligence that exist in the world.
‘Intelligence is not something that exists, but something one does; it is active, interpersonal and generative, and it manifests when we think and act.’ – James Bridle
Summer edition of weekly magazine De Groene Amsterdammer
Where Bridle's lecture was the kickoff, we delved deeper into other forms of intelligence with the Groene Amsterdammer. With Waags Marleen Stikker as guest editor-in-chief, the summer issue of the Groene Amsterdammer focused entirely on other forms of intelligence. With 'the toaster iron as the ultimate' of intelligence, Marleen Stikker explains in her introduction how we have made abstract knowledge the ultimate form of intelligence, while reality demands a different form.
She states, "It is about time to review what we mean by intelligence. To do so, it is important to dissect the hype and claims of Artificial Intelligence, to give prominent activists and thinkers the floor, to expose the underlying assumptions about consciousness, but also to reevaluate the great diversity of intelligences."
And it didn't stop at a print magazine: on Thursday, July 13, together with De Groene Amsterdammer, we called the summer issue to life at the Waag!
Did you miss the issue (Dutch)? Order it online.
Xandra Schutte, editor-in-chief of De Groene Amsterdammer: "The words 'smart' and 'intelligent' are plastered on anything and everything these days because they have a sexy aura around them - a habit that Marleen Stikker abhors. After all, what should we actually imagine by "smart" and "intelligent"? In any case, the concept of intelligence is historically intertwined with prejudice, bias and power."
Waag Futurelab @ Dutch Design Week
During this year's Dutch Design week (October 21-29, 2023), Waag Futurelab will be on the Ketelhuisplein with its Futuredome. Come in and immerse yourself in different forms of intelligence: from the intelligence of hands or nature to the microbiome and collective intelligence. Each day, Waag Futurelab zooms in on a specific form of intelligence, exposing it, cutting it open and discussing it with the audience. Throughout the week, we are also asking you, the DDW visitor, to share your definition of intelligence. In order to redesign the understanding of intelligence!
Museumnight Amsterdam @ Waag Futurelab
Also during Museum Night in Amsterdam (Nov. 4), you can visit us and dive into different forms of intelligence.
Check out the program.
planet B expeditions
To make a different world possible, Waag works on practical change in the present. One way we do this is from planet B thinking: imagine if we were allowed to completely redesign a planet, how would we do it? What social, ecological, technological structures would we build to achieve an open, fair and inclusive world?
To explore this, over the course of four years, Waag is organizing an expedition to planet B. Each year we will work on a different theme.