Nicolaus Copernicus Superior School

Agnieszka Pilat, SpaceX and Boston Dynamics, “Man vs. Machines” | AI&EDU SGMK Congress

Agnieszka Pilat, wykład podczas kongresu AI&EDU SGMK

SpaceX and Boston Dynamics ambassador Agnieszka Pilat, Polish American artist and writer who views machines as objects of artistic exploration, inaugurated the first day of the AI&EDU SGMK Congress with her lecture “Man and Machine: A Love Story”.  

During her lecture, Agnieszka Pilat talked about the evolution of machines and technology, presenting artificial intelligence as the culmination of technological development. She compared artificial intelligence to a child, that has humanity as its global parent, which shapes its development and future. 

She also shared her artistic journey – from Poland, where she experienced the reality of Soviet propaganda, to a classical portrait painter. She noted that portraiture has always reflected power and social status. Her contemporary work focuses on machines, which she sees as the new aristocracy. Pilat argues that machines are not just passive objects, but active participants in society, carrying certain ideologies. 

In her lecture, the artist cited historical art movements such as Futurism in Italy and Precisionism in the United States, which celebrated technology in different ways, often in an ideological context. Pilat highlighted how these movements shaped perceptions of technology, glorifying it or pointing out its potential for creating both progress and destruction.

During the lecture, she also drew attention to the concept of heroism in the context of artificial intelligence, pointing out that it can be seen as a hero or an anti-hero, performing tasks that can transform society for better or worse. She referred to the theory of Ernest Becker, who distinguished between great and small heroism, suggesting that intelligent machines could also represent these traits.

One of the most fascinating moments of the lecture was Agnieszka Pilat’s discussion of her cooperation with the Boston Dynamics Spot robot, which she named Basia. She treated Basia as a growing, learning creature, comparing it to Renaissance students. Her works often depict machines in a humanized way, reflecting their potential to grow and learn.

The artist also stressed the importance of AI development containment, referring to current debates in Silicon Valley. She suggested that as AI progresses, it will require careful guidance and oversight to ensure its positive development. She pointed out the contemporary parallels between religion and technology, suggesting that modern technological advances, such as SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, are taking on quasi-religious characteristics and that objects such as Starlink antennas act as modern icons, connecting people and symbolizing hope and communication.

Pilat expressed concerns about the power and influence of technology, in the context of global conflicts and ideological battles. She called for a thoughtful and ethical approach to AI development, highlighting its potential to both help and oppress humanity.

She concluded by referring to her personal mission to tell the story of technology’s impact on society. She underlined the importance of education and awareness in shaping the future of AI, calling for a balanced and ethical approach to using its potential for the good of all.

With her art and reflections, Agnieszka Pilat provokes deep analysis of the role that technology and AI play in our lives. Her message is clear: we must thoughtfully shape a future in which technology will serve humanity, not the other way around.

Listen to Agnieszka Pilat’s interview for SGMK TV:

The AI&EDU SGMK Science Congress organized by the Nicolaus Copernicus Superior School was held on June 13-14, in Warsaw. Just like the Futurist of the Year SGMK, the largest futurological science congress of 2024, it became an interdisciplinary space for the exchange of knowledge and experience of Polish and international experts and researchers. 

Check out the conference materials and video report from the congress:

Nicolaus Copernicus Superior School 
Internationality | Interdisciplinarity | High quality teaching 

Nicolaus Copernicus Superior School (SGMK) is a new academic center on the map of Central Europe that draws its inspiration directly from the achievements of one of Poland’s most eminent scientists, Nicolaus Copernicus. 

SGMK provides students with direct access to the knowledge of scientists and experts from the top research centers, including many Nobel Prize winners. Since its inception, SGMK has focused on high quality teaching, interdisciplinarity and internationality. 

Nicolaus Copernicus Superior School 
Internationality | Interdisciplinarity | High quality teaching 

New postgraduate programs in the areas of cyber security and artificial intelligence, as well as communication and futurology 

Nicolaus Copernicus Superior School is setting trends in teaching. We have just launched one of the first postgraduate programs in Communications and strategic foresight and Cybersecurity and security of financial and public institutions (AI). Apply now! 

We are also accepting applications for the next edition of our elite MBA program “Banking and Financial System”. 

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