Performing bodies, sounds and machines

Marco Donnarumma | peformance art and technology, sound art and body politics


AI Ethics & Prosthetics

A critical thinking workshop on the radical potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to change human bodily experience. Through a collective critical discussion, we look at 30 years from now and envision what it could mean to live with prosthesis driven by autonomous algorithms.

About the work

The advance of research in artificial intelligence (AI) is today more rapid than ever. Governmental and academic institutions are only beginning to respond to the ethical issues posed by increasingly ubiquitous and proactive AIs. Corporations and startups, on the other hand, relentlessly focus on creating AI capable of drastically changing human activities: from everyday routines and law enforcement to medical diagnosis and warfare.

In this workshop we focus on the radical and, as of now, underestimated potential of AI to change human bodily experience. It is a critical thinking workshop where we begin with the question “Would you live with an autonomous prosthesis?” Using speculative methods and critical conversations, we discuss the ethics of AI in relation to future intelligent machines that do not only live with us, but on and within us. What forms of bodily experience will emerge? Who will own the algorithms and the data driving these new prosthesis? Will prosthetic devices become more appealing to those who do not necessarily need one? Will they become more useful for those in real need?

We begin by collectively discussing the notion of ethics, what it means to us, how it affects our daily lives and how it can be applied to machine intelligence. Drawing on these first observations, we imagine, and speculatively inhabit, plausible future scenarios where body prostheses are widespread and autonomous, meaning that they can act on their own and without an intentional input from the wearer. In this way we force ourselves to formulate questions around hybrid genders, synthetic emotions and technological incorporation.

The workshop is open to anyone with any background and expertise level. An artistic and/or scientific background can be useful, but it is not at all a requirement. Those interested in artificial and machine intelligence, ethical issues in relation to technology and the body and the broadest notion of prosthesis will have the opportunity to discuss openly how these concepts relate to each other. The most diverse the participants group the most exciting and fruitful the discussion.

The workshop is part of Donnarumma’s 2-year Research Fellowship at Berlin University of the Arts, in partnership with the Neurorobotics Research Laboratory at Beuth-Hochschule für Technik Berlin, 2016-2018.

Keywords: Critical thinking, artificial intelligence, prosthetics, ethics
Status: Touring

AI Ethics & Prosthetics photo gallery

  • Marco Donnarumma - AI Ethics & Prosthetics Workshop
  • Marco Donnarumma - AI Ethics & Prosthetics Workshop
  • Marco Donnarumma - AI Ethics & Prosthetics Workshop
  • Marco Donnarumma - AI Ethics & Prosthetics Workshop

Prerequisites: No previous experience in AI, prosthetics or philosophy required, artistic and/or scientific background is useful, but not necessary.
Materials: Colored markers, post-it sticky notes, video projector
Duration: Min. 2 hours, max. 4 hours

Marco Donnarumma - AI Ethics & Prosthetics Workshop
Marco Donnarumma - AI Ethics & Prosthetics Workshop
Marco Donnarumma - AI Ethics & Prosthetics Workshop
Marco Donnarumma - AI Ethics & Prosthetics Workshop

Past classes

  • Perform Tech

    Fabryka Sztuky, Lodz, PL, 2017

  • Athens Digital Arts Festival

    Athens, GR, 2017

  • STATE Festival for Open Science, Art and Society

    Berlin, DE, 2016

  • Retune Festival for Art, Design and Technology

    Berlin, DE, 2016


Marco Donnarumma – Concept, class program
Margherita Pevere – Photography
STATE Festival – In kind support
Susan Schulman – Heading picture, CC Licensed by Exceed Worldwide.