UnivForum 2024

The Human Factor

In the pandemic years, thanks to technological advances, we were able to survive with a new normality despite the health crisis that brought the whole world to a halt. Great advances in medical technology, remote working, virtual education and so on. They ushered in these new modes of hospital care, work, education. And while they may not be the best modes, at the time they were crucial for the world to keep moving and human relations to continue, at least in their virtual version.

Three years on from these events, we are now even more amazed by the technological advances. The development of Artificial Intelligence is truly incredible. So many things that once seemed the exclusive product of science fiction are now becoming a reality.

While, in the years of the pandemic, technological advances were an obvious tool for man to continue his work, today, technological advances in artificial intelligence are of such magnitude that they even lead us to believe that the probability of machines replacing us in many of the jobs that we thought were exclusively human, no longer tends to zero.

It is true that robotising jobs consisting of technical and repetitive processes is not so surprising. For several years this has been the task of automation science and computer science. However, with advances in artificial intelligence in conjunction with robotics, even the execution of such processes is increasingly surprising. What was once a simple machine executing commands now seems to be endowed with an intelligence that closely resembles that of a human. The similarity is so great that today the common feeling about the functioning of machines is that they are capable of thinking before they act, of always taking the best decision, etc. In addition, their failure or non-compliance rate is also practically zero. In short, it seems that they have achieved that ideal efficiency at work, so much sought after by human beings.

But definitely, the great prize of these advances is held by ChatGPT and the technologies similar to it that were emerging little by little. Until its official launch in November 2022, it was not thought possible that a force machine capable of producing things, which until now, were considered so exclusively human: making a work of art, writing an essay, a book, a poem, a song. Because perhaps, aren't these the noblest fruits of intelligence and human creativity in harmonious dialogue? And if it were only a mere question of production capacity, the ChatGPT phenomenon had not worried so much, what was surprising is when the great expert evaluators of the quality of these productions could not identify which works of art or literature had been made by machines or which by humans.

With all this, then: What is human intelligence and creativity? Because if they are a series of abilities that cause admiration and can be measured according to parameters that evaluate the capacity of perfect combination of linguistic rules, the interconnection of ideas or concepts, the efficiency in the production of things, etc., we can consider ourselves a civilization that is evidently much inferior, in terms of intelligence and creativity, to today's machines. Humans can be considered a civilization that is obviously far inferior in terms of intelligence and creativity to today's machines. However, although it seems that our own creations have surpassed us in the skills that most distinguished us as humans, we sense that simulating human behaviour is not the same as being human. And so, if anything, these scientific advances have motivated us to rediscover what makes us truly human. That is, the human factor.

Join us this 2024 in Rome, so that, with your participation in the different activities of the Forum (Communications, UnivTube, Social Initiatives Forum, Debates, UnivArts, IESE-Case Competition). And with the presentations of great experts on the subject, let's study together the big questions about what makes us truly human: What is The Human Factor? We are waiting for you!

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