Since computer science is not a human science, what can be done to make it one in the age of mass automation? | Dr. Michal Krzykawski at NASK SCIENCE


How to rebuild public trust in computer science, and how does “trustworthy AI” relate to it? Can (or simply must) computer science become a human science? What, how and why to automate? For more philosophical reflections on technologies and AI, we have invited Dr. Michal Krzykawski, and you are invited to attend this meeting, which will take place on January 16 from 11:00-13:00 at NASK SCIENCE.

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In the lecture, Michal Krzykawski will argue that the question in his title is worth posing with a view to developing a counterbalance to the subordination of mathematical and computer science knowledge to the narrow interests of tech-business in the context of the further development of so-called “artificial intelligence,” the expected growth of data and the psychosocial implications of this informational excess. In the public perception, computer science and related engineering professions are generally associated with the creation of increasingly sophisticated control and surveillance systems. While the operation of these systems was closely linked to the ongoing financialization of the economy since the 1970s, which ultimately led to the 2008 global economic crisis, it is now associated with the launching of increasingly complex AI models by an increasingly narrow group of companies outside of any social control. This is why computing no longer carries the promise it briefly held in the days of the World Wide Web: is no longer used to build devices that enable the production of various forms of knowledge and universal access to it, but is a function of capital.

What can be done to change this, and thus rebuild public trust in computer science when it comes to “trustworthy AI”? In the third edition of the Encyclopedia of Computer Science, under the heading “computer science,” we read that “the fundamental question underlying everything related to computer science is this: what can be (effectively) automated” (1993). In recent computer science publications, it is supposedly inappropriate to cite publications older than those published up to two years earlier. But when it comes to this fundamental question, not much seems to have changed. That’s why the challenge for computer science – trustworthy computer science, in his view – is to rethink its theoretical foundations and the belief system that enabled it to emerge as a distinct discipline. Only then, it seems, will we be able to inaugurate a discussion of what is worth automating and what the goals of automation are and who takes advantage of it.

Michal Krzykawski will try to encourage such a discussion with this lecture, showing how we could look at computer science as a human science and what practical things could result from such a change of perspective.

This seminar was recorded and it is now available online.


Michal Krzykawski, Ph.D., Professor at the University of Silesia, philosopher, researcher at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Silesia in Katowice, where he directs the Center for Critical Research on Technology. Author and co-author of numerous works on philosophy of technology and social philosophy in the context of digital transformations. Proponent of conducting transdisciplinary research. Recent published works: Necessary Bifurcation. “There is no alternative” (edited by Bernard Stiegler and the Internation Collective, Katowice 2023) and Economy and entropy. How to get out of polycrisis (edited by Jerzy Hausner, Michal Krzykawski, Warsaw 2023). Manager in the project Networking Ecologically Smart Territories (Horizon 2020, MSCA-RISE, Grant Agreement no. 101007915).