November 16, 2023, Brussels, Belgium / Online
LASER Talks Brussels
In the framework of the opening of exhibition ‘What is wisdom in a calculated world? Code & Algorithms’, 17.11.2023—18.02.2024, iMAL, Brussels, Belgium.
November 16, 4 pm CET — Find your timezone here.
iMAL, Quai des Charbonnages 30 Koolmijnenkaai, 1080 Brussels
Panelists: Diego Diaz, Kyriaki Goni, Ana María Barragán Montero, Daniel Pérez Lozano and Manu Luksch
Moderator: Manuela Naveau
Organisers: Lucia Garcia (IMAL) in collaboration with Alexandra Dementieva (Laser Talk Brussels)
In programming terms, an algorithm is a sequence of logical steps to solve a problem. Although the first ones we know of appear on tablets from the Babylonian Empire, everything changed in 1842 when the mathematician Ada Lovelace proposed what is considered the first computer algorithm, that is, the first algorithm that could be processed automatically by a machine.
Today, we are surrounded by devices capable of executing a multitude of algorithms. Our everyday life is inconceivable without them: they suggest how to get from one place to another, which film to watch or how to translate a word. Algorithms can help us predict a stroke two years before it happens, select crops that adapt to climate change or calculate the shape of 200 million molecules to understand diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson’s. They can also exclude us from a selection process and determine whether we qualify for a loan or health insurance.
Invisible and incomprehensible to most, algorithms remain a set of more or less sophisticated instructions with the capacity to generate positive or negative impacts on a large scale, depending on how we design them. We increasingly delegate major decisions to them, which is why it is essential to understand how they work and what ethical challenges they pose. How can we make our humanity prevail in a world calculated, organised and parameterized for algorithms?
Diego Diaz and Clara Boj have been working together since 2000. Since then, they have investigated how new digital technologies transform our society. Initially, they developed physical interaction and non-linear narrative systems to investigate and promote social and physical interaction in public space. Recently they are analyzing how the Internet of Behavior could transform our idea of the future, especially its effects in our society, when computers could totally understand and predict our behavior. Currently, Diego Diaz is an Associate Professor at Universitat Jaume I where he teaches experimental videogames design.
Kyriaki Goni born and based in Athens, works across media exploring the political, affective and environmental aspects of technology. She focuses on extractivism, surveillance, human and other than human relations, alternative networks and infrastructures of care and community. Manifesting through websites, drawing, videos, sound, and text, her installations build alternative ecosystems and shared experiences by connecting the local with the planetary, the fictional with the scientific.
Ana María Barragán Montero is a senior researcher at UCLouvain working in artificial intelligence methods for health care. In particular, she develops AI models to analyse medical images and predict optimal treatments for cancer patients. She studied physics at University Complutense in Madrid (Spain), and moved to Belgium in 2013 for a PhD in optimisation algorithms to improve proton therapy treatments for cancer patients. After graduating in 2017, she moved to the United States to the Medical Artificial Intelligence and Automation lab at UTSouthwestern, where she started to apply deep learning models for medical imaging. Since then, she has been working in the field of AI for healthcare. In addition, Ana is part of the non-profit organization CEBE (Spanish Scientists Abroad) where she shares her passion for science communication and reach out.
Daniel Pérez Lozano, PhD is a hardware development researcher specializing in cutting-edge technologies. He is presently employed at IMEC, where his primary focus lies in quantum computing and superconducting logic for high-performance computing. His ultimate objective is to enhance the computational capabilities of existing systems while simultaneously boosting their efficiency.
Through her artistic practice, Manu Luksch interrogates conceptions of progress with a strong emphasis on research, collaboration and new forms of engagement. Her films and artworks raise critical interdisciplinary questions about the political and technological circumstances of particular forms of contemporary imagery, and how these can be deployed to question or critique the same systems they arise from. International awards and fellowships include Oustanding Artist Award 2023; Denning Visiting Artist Stanford University 2021; School of Law Birkbeck Visiting Artist 2020; ZONTA Award, 65th Kurzfilmfest Oberhausen 2019; Open Society Fellowship 2018; Best Feature Austrian Film Press Award & Moscow Int’l Documentary Film Festival 2016.