Dutch philosopher Rob Riemen talks about the challenges of humanity at the Athenaeum of Barcelona

DIPLOCAT collaborates with the new talks cycle "More intelligent, more human?"

The Dutch philosopher Rob Riemen, president of the prestigious Nexus Instituut, has given the first talk of the new cycle "More intelligent, more human?", which is organized by the Athenaeum of Barcelona with the collaboration of DIPLOCAT, among other entities. In conversation with the journalist Neus Tomàs, Riemen spoke about "Becoming Human Is an Art", the title of his latest book, and made a series of reflections on possible mechanisms to survive in an increasingly digitized world full of machines that control us through data and algorithms

Riemen began by reminding us that human beings are the only species aware of death and able to think about it. The ability to say no and to oppose what we don't like or what seems unfair to us is another essential feature of our civilization, according to him. In this sense, he encouraged the public to take advantage of this ability and to criticize attitudes, governments or technological innovations such as artificial intelligence. "Everyone complains about Amazon and social networks, but no one forces you to buy there or use them", he recalled.

Amidst criticism of the functioning of the university as an institution and lamentations about widespread corruption, Riemen called for a new academic, intellectual and political class to help spread a new approach to the way we live. One of the problems in today's society, says Riemen, is that quantity prevails over quality: "Nowadays it's all about numbers, whether it's economic growth, audiences, consumption or followers of the newest influencer". According to him, only a society invaded by lies and stupidity can make it possible for a "monster" like Trump to aspire to be president of the USA again. Riemen demanded responsibility from the media in not spreading lies and assured that democracy cannot survive without freedom of speech and information available in the form of quality data.

The cycle "More intelligent, more human?" will feature a series of presentations, dialogues and round tables that will deal with the major challenges of today's society, both from a more general point of view and from that of specific disciplines (society, culture, science, ethics and philosophy, arts, etc). DIPLOCAT will also be involved in an activity taking place on  Wednesday 27 September, when French philosopher and technocritic Éric Sadin will talk about how to dissent in the age of artificial intelligence.