Artificial intelligence and playwriting

Advanced seminar on playwriting
Coordinated by Simon Longman
From 04/07/2021 to 10/07/2021

From 10a.m to 2p.m. and from 3.30p.m. to 5.30p.m.

The participants in this seminar are authors recommended by collaborating institutions.

Artificial Intelligence and playwriting: in a world where we are starting to create machines whose intelligence may surpass our own, we are forced to ask questions about our place in the world. How will this new era effect the people we are, the stories we tell and the way we present human experience?

“Oce an intelligent robot exists it is only a small step to a robot species – to an intelligent robot that can make evolved copies of itself.”

“Dematerialization of industrial power”: in the past you needed rare resources, large nuclear plants and huge labs to launch a new holocaust. In the future you will only need a computer and a few very widely available materials.

“Self-replication”: combination of computing power, physical sciences, genetics. The replicating and evolving processes that have been confined to the natural world are about to become the realm of human endeavour. Robot species will reproduce. The gestation and development time will be so much shorter for robots.

“Learning and evolution”. Computational systems can read a book in a nano-second – it takes us a week. They can reproduce almost instantaneously – it takes us 9 months. They can self-improve and update second on second – we take years to learn and improve and the development process doesn’t always operate in a straight line.

In a world in which we have created machines that outstrip human intelligence we have to interrogate what happens to story form.

Are humans the only species capable of creativity?
Can machines imagine?
Can machines dream?
Can machines feel and think?
Will humans always be the only animals who can express what it is to be alive through art? How does a computational system express its experience of being in the world?
What will communicating with these systems do to language, love and connection?
Will human/machine relationships be a new sexual and moral frontier?
Will artificial intelligence bring the new and crucial debate in identity politics?
Can machines think and feel? If so, what does this do to our conception of character as far as theatre is concerned?
How would you portray a computational system on stage?
How would you deal with two computational systems interacting with each other?
How would you deal with a human and a computational system interacting?
What does the idea of artificial intelligence do to the way we tell stories?
Is there an algorithmic story form? If so… what is it?
Do you have dread or excitement about the future?
What role will humans play in it?

Description of the seminar

The guest playwrights of this edition are Vickie Donoghue (Great Britain), Teresa Dopler (Austria), Braian Kobla (Argentina), Mufaro Makubika (Great Britain), Eu Manzanares (Catalonia), Tatjana Motta (Italy), Amalie Olesen (Denmark) and Almudena Ramírez-Pantanella (Spain). All of them have been recommended by international theatres and centres. They will send in advance a short play on the subject. These plays will be translated into Catalan and presented in the form of a staged reading by l’Obrador d’estiu’s Resident Company. The readings will be open to the general public.

Registration is closed

Professor: Simon Longman

Vickie Donoghue (Great Britain)
Teresa Dopler (Austria)
Braian Kobla (Argentina)
Mufaro Makubika (Great Britain)
Eu Manzanares (Catalonia)
Tatjana Motta (Italy)
Amalie Olesen (Denmark)
Almudena Ramírez-Pantanella (Spain)

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