According to Jewish legend, a golem is a figure made from dust and clay by a man of learning and brought to life by means of a ritual incantation. The golem was intended as an assistant to its human creator, as a companion or protector of the latter’s threatened community. But the experiment gets out of hand, and the creature turns against its creator.
19:00: Lecture by Inigo Wilkins (UK): 'The myth of Golem'
The myth of Golem alludes to certain problems brought on by the automation of inert matter via a control script. As such it not only recasts in modern form a question that has been central to philosophy since the ancient Greek distinction between animate and inanimate matter, it also augurs current dilemmas in robotics and artificial intelligence. Drawing on recent neuroscientific theories of consciousness, the young British philosopher Inigo Wilkins weaves these strands together to outline the contemporary significance of the myth.
20:30: Theatre play Golem by Thomas Ryckewaert
The myth of the golem underlies Thomas Ryckewaert’s latest creation. It is a tale of ambition, creativity, power, creation, madness and destruction. It is a theme that touches upon the age-old fear of creating something that surpasses us: from the Bible via Frankenstein to the ghost of artificial intelligence. It is a story that raises the same question in every age: how deep can we dig? Face to face with a figure that looks a lot like man but is at the same time radically different, a mirror is held up to man. He sees monsters being born in things, in the other, in himself.
Inigo Wilkins completed his PhD in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2016. He is now working on a book entitled ‘Irreversible Noise’, forthcoming on Urbanomic. He is co-director of the online arts journal and research platform Glass Bead (http://glass-bead.org/), the next issue of which focuses on political and philosophical problems surrounding logic, cognitive science, and AI. Other publications and talks can be found here and here.
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