News and Events

November 30 - December 1, 2023: Workshop on AI from the Perspective of Humanities and the Social Sciences

The upcoming International Workshop at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague, promises an enriching exploration of artificial intelligence through the lens of sociology and anthropology. Scheduled in two distinct blocks, the first, conducted in English, will feature insights from esteemed speakers like Robert Braun, Csaba Szaló, Werner Binder, Hedvika Novotná, and Martin Heřmanský, addressing topics from AI's role in the Anthropocene to digital ethnography's utility in AI studies. The second block, in Czech, will delve into AI's impact on humanities and social sciences education. Experts including Michaela Liegertová, Josef Šlerka, and Hana Kalivodová will cover AI's influence from the present to beyond a decade, offering a comprehensive view of AI's integration into various aspects of our lives and its potential future developments. This workshop is a not-to-be-missed opportunity for scholars and enthusiasts alike to engage with the multifaceted implications of AI.

November 16, 2023: Petr Špecián's Talk on "Sustaining People's" Rule in the Digital Age

Petr Špecián has presented a talk on "Reimagining Institutions through Generative AI" at the conference Meaning of Democracy organized by the Polish Academy of Sciences - Scientific Centre in Vienna, Austria.

Abstract: The talk focuses on the potential of using large language models (LLMs) as a means to strengthen democracy in the face of modern challenges. Petr argues that the integration of AI, specifically LLMs, into democratic processes can enhance collective intelligence and decision-making. LLMs, with their ability to process vast amounts of information and provide coherent responses, could surpass the limitations of human experts who are often constrained by scarcity of resources, conflicts of interest, and narrow focus. The proposed approach includes implementing institutional safeguards and starting with experimental use of LLM advisors in controlled environments to gather empirical evidence. The main message is optimistic, suggesting that the strategic use of AI can empower democracies to effectively manage contemporary issues and complexities.

November 30, 2023: FHS AI Day

Join us at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles Univesrity in examining artificial intelligence from the perspective of humanities and social sciences. The program includes a lecture on AI ethics, a workshop on using AI for research, a contest in generating AI art, a discussion hosted by a student association, and a series of short presentations mapping the impact of AI on society. Come discuss the future of the relationship between humans and technology. 

11:30 – 12:50 Soutěž v AI umění | AI Art Competition (CZ / ENG) 

13:00 – 14:20 Online workshop o etice umělé inteligence: Máme se bát AI? (CZ only) 

14:30 – 15:50 Workshop: AI in Social Sciences and Humanities Research (pouze anglicky) 

16:00 – 17:20 Diskusní hra (CZ only) 

17:30 – 19:30 FHS AI Talks: krátká vystoupení na téma AI a společnost | short talks on AI and Society (CZ | ENG) 

October 30, 2023: Petr Špecián's Talk on "Reimagining Institutions Through Generative AI"

Petr Špecián has presented a talk on "Reimagining Institutions through Generative AI" at Computing the Human Conference in Brno.

Abstract: As AI systems grow more advanced, new possibilities emerge to utilize their generative capabilities to reimagine our institutions. It is becoming possible to integrate technology with the social sciences to develop AI-powered capabilities for institutional innovation. My talk will focus on the intriguing possibility of constructing a collaborative digital sandbox where researchers could rapidly prototype and simulate the impacts of new institutional architectures. This virtual institutional laboratory—or playground—would provide a space to experiment with novel designs optimized to answer the 21st century’s challenges. Interdisciplinary teams of social scientists, computer scientists, and government innovators would co-create this platform and populate it with imaginative institutional alternatives to be tested and refined “in silico” before their real-world deployment. Thus, when carefully directed, AI’s generative power could help design new forms of social organization and governance fit for the digital age. 

September 16, 2023: Intensifying Our Social Media Presence

As our team is growing, so is our presence and activity on social media. You can now follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter / X and LinkedIn to keep up to date with the latest news from AI Transformation. Our new team member and communications manager Karina Zamrazilová has extensive and long-standing experience in marketing and science popularization. Do not hesitate to reach out if you want to get in touch or have something interesting to share!

September, 2023: New Team Members, Welcome!

We are thrilled to welcome our new team members, Lucy Císař Brown and Karina Zamrazilová, both of whom bring expertise in the humanities and a keen interest in the intersection of artificial intelligence with societal issues.

Lucy, a doctoral student at Charles University's Faculty of Humanities, specializes in historical sociology. Her research explores the evolution of European societies, focusing on long-term trends in criminal prosecutions, such as gender-specific crimes and witchcraft. She is particularly intrigued by how large language models can impact social structures and the state-citizen dynamic.

Karina, also a PhD student at Charles University, is the President of the Czech Society for Cognitive Science. Specializing in socio-cultural and medical anthropology, her work revolves around European healthcare systems and the application of AI in mental health. She's also an active member of the Czech Effective Altruism Association, where she addresses AI-related ethical considerations.

September 8, 2023: Talk on Democratizing Expertise via LLMs on ECPR General Conference

Petr Špecián presented a talk "Democratizing Expertise. The Limits and Possibilities of Artificial Intelligence in Enhancing Democratic Decision-Making" at the ECPR General Conference 2023.

He delved into the potential of integrating large language models (LLMs) like GPT-4 into democratic decision-making. While acknowledging their limitations, such as opacity and the potential for value imposition, he argued that these aren't necessarily more problematic than the shortcomings inherent in relying on human experts. If managed responsibly, LLMs could become a vital asset in democratizing expertise and thereby enhancing democratic processes.

June 2023: Newsletter "AI and Institutions"

We started a monthly newletter on AI and institutions that informs about the activities of our research group and other interesting developments in Czechia and abroad. Currently, the newsletter is available in Czech only, but if we indicate some interest, we will consider a multi-lingual edition as well. 

I you would like to subscribe or let us know about your preferences and interests, please drop us a line!

June 16, 2023: Conference Talk on Language Models for Democracy

Petr Špecián has presented a talk "Language Models for Democracy: Limits and Possibilities" at the Technology &  Sustainable Development 2023 conference at Østfold University College, Norway, investigating the potential of large language models to replace human experts as advisors to democratic assemblies.

The corresponding working paper is available here

November 2023: AI Institutional Transformation Workshop

We are organizing a workshop in late 2023 to showcase our research group's advancements, explore the current state of AI, and enjoy talks by renowned scholars. Stay tuned, specifics will be updated!

May 18-20: Interdisciplinary Conference on Fortifying Democracy for the Digital Age

Join us for an interdisciplinary academic conference exploring the impact of epistemic democratization on political democracy in today's digital era. The conference is held at Prague University of Economics and Business on May 18-20. The conference program is available here.

As traditional top-down information structures make way for social media platforms, we witness a revolutionary shift in how information is shared and consumed. This transformation brings both opportunities and risks for democratic societies.

The conference will foster a discussion on the relationship between political democracy and epistemic democratization, exploring how these concepts can align. We'll examine the workable avenues of epistemic democratization within various forms of political democracy, encouraging debate and exchange of ideas.

The conference is open to the public. For registration, please see here.

May 17: Coordination Meeting

Initial coordination meeting intended for those interested in the activities of our newly founded interdisciplinary research group. Held on May 17, 2023, 4 pm CET, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, Prague. You may register for attendance here.