Documentary Festival ‘AIDocs: Very Social Tech Docs’

During the documentary festival ‘AIDocs’ we will shed light on social and societal implications of technological developments. Four afternoons we will show documentaries in which AI plays a different role each time. An expert Erasmus scientist will introduce the documentary and discuss it with the audience. For example, is Alice the care robot a helpful tool to diminish loneliness? And how is gig work changing the future of work? AIDocs is organised by the Erasmus Initiative AIpact and Studium Generale.

We will screen the documentaries from 16:00 to 18:00 (entrance: 15:30) in the Erasmus Pavilion. The language of the documentary festival is English. Entrance is free but we recommend you to safe yourself a seat by signing up.

The Gig is Up | Thursday September 22

We will start the documentary festival AIDocs with The Gig is Up. Who starts working when you’ve ordered food, an uber or something via Amazon? With an introduction by Prof. Claartje ter Hoeven. She is the scientific director and coordinator of the interdisciplinary research and master programme ‘Organisational Dynamics in the Digital Society’, connected to the ESSB strategy Meeting the Future Society

Sign up for The Gig is Up

Fall in love with Jason Edwards, one of the millions of people working in the gig economy. He does microwork for a living. This mostly means fueling AI by labeling images, transcribing audio files, and cleaning data. In this documentary you will meet different people, working for food delivery platforms, Uber, and microwork platforms. With their hard work and precarious situation, they will show us the cost of convenience and how important it is to start taking care of platform workers.

You can’t automate me | Thursday September 29

The second edition we will screen You can’t automate me. Before container ships leave port, lashers secure the containers using heavy metal bars. They are the last port workers to do such dangerous jobs. In an equally physical cinematic style, each body tells its own story: from grieving for a colleague who died on the job to just keeping going.

The documentary will be introduced by Dr. Jess Bier and Tessa Boumans. Jess is an assistent-professor Urban Sociology. In her current project she focuses on the role of data in the automation of shipping in the Port of Rotterdam. Tessa Boumans is a PhD candidate in the programme line AI in Work and Labour as part of the Erasmus Initative AIPact.

Sign up for  You Can’t Automate Me

Jess: Lashing, the practice of securing containers on board a ship, can’t easily be done by robots, at least not yet. Lashing is dangerous, physical labor that requires a deft touch and significant expertise. It’s also essential: containers that aren’t well secured can fall overboard, endangering the crew, colliding with ships, and polluting the ocean. You Can’t Automate Me follows one group of lashers in the Port of Rotterdam to understand how they came to this work, how they feel about its future, and what it means to rely on a small team of human workers in an increasingly automated industry.

Tessa: Similar to the lashers in the port of Rotterdam, the women who assemble garments in the global south do work that – thus far – has been difficult to automate. Although as an outsider it might be easy to argue that these dirty and unsafe jobs are better of automated, Jazbecs documentary shows how meaning and value of work are ultimately in the eye of the beholder. In turn, this raises questions about how work should be perceived and valued, what future transformations of work should look like, and whose voices are being heard.

AlphaGo | Wednesday October 12

The third edition we will screen AlphaGo. Can a human still win from an AI opponent in a game of AlphaGo, the oldest board game in the world? The documentary will be introduced by Dr. Joao Goncalves, assistant professor in the department Media and Communication of the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication.

Sign up for AlphaGo

"AlphaGo is window into human intuition. It is a documentary about the oldest board game still played today that showcases the complexity and emotionality of human interaction with machine learning innovation, and the uncomfortable consequences of AI success. Paraphrasing media scholar Marshall McLuhan, the introductory talk will raise questions about how humanity is extending its abilities through AI, and what it may lose in this process."

Alice Cares | Thursday October 20

Closing film of this documentary festival AIDocs will be Alice Cares. Can Sociobots replace human contact and help elderly people overcome loneliness? The documentary will be introduced by Dr. Francisca Grommé. She is part of the Organisational Dynamics in the Digital Society master programme as an assistant professor.

Sign up for Alice Cares

Can robots make us feel less lonely? Alice Cares offers an honest look into robot companionship by following the introduction of a small robot, Alice, in the lives of three elderly women. As Alice tries to make conversation with these women, we learn about the laughter and frustration that robots can cause. But the documentary also gives an exceptional look into the efforts of the scientists behind the scenes, and how their roles take an unexpected turn.

Organised by

This documentary festival is organised by Studium Generale and Erasmus Initiative AIPact. This Erasmus Initiative aims for innovative and interdisciplinary research and education in AI that places people and society centre stage. Together with key stakeholders we set the expectations for implementations of AI benefiting society. Through setting the expectations we seek to engage the public with the rapidly evolving integration of AI in society. Throughout the year Studium Generale organises academic, social and cultural events for Erasmus students and staff.


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Related content
Who starts working when you’ve ordered food, an uber or something via Amazon? With an introduction by prof. Claartje ter Hoeven.
The last port workers are lashers. Securing containers with steel pins proves to be a dangerous job. With introductions by dr. Jess Bier and Tessa Boumans.
Can Sociobots replace human contact and help elderly people overcome loneliness? With an introduction by dr. Francisca Grommé.
Can a human still win from an AI opponent in a game of AlphaGo, the oldest board game in the world? With an introduction by dr. Joao Goncalves.

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