World-leading thinkers, artists and AI technology tackle the world’s current watershed moments as Australia’s original provocative ideas festival, the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI), launches a new podcast, FODI: The In-Between that pairs 16 leading thinkers from around the world to record and dissect this moment in time.
Featuring an impressive line-up including actor, writer and historian Stephen Fry, social commentator Roxane Gay, broadcaster Waleed Aly, business leader Sam Mostyn, activist Naomi Klein as well as philosophers Peter Singer and Slavoj Žižek, FODI: The In-Between asks: what does a passing age look like? What should we celebrate or regret from our past? What do we fear for the future and what gives us hope?
Hosted by FODI festival director and curator Danielle Harvey, alongside The Ethics Centre’s co-curators Simon Longstaff and Ann Mossop, the candid conversations tackle the big issues of our world and future, from climate change and global politics to artificial intelligence, truth and social media.
“While we have waited to hold a live event again, we’ve been thinking and talking a lot about this moment we find ourselves in – a moment where we are in-between festivals, in-between change, in-between eras. We’re in the death throes of power changes, realising what we have created with technology and science, and what hopes and fears the next age brings.
“The In-Between project is like a requiem for a passing age. These are the types of candid and big thinking conversations that you hear in the green room at FODI, which we are recreating in a new audio format,” said Harvey.
In an Australian podcast first, FODI: The In-Between will debut an artificially intelligent voice clone of Harvey, which features as a co-host at the beginning and end of the episodes. A product of AI voice synthesis, she trained the intelligent technology by recording her own audio samples to replicate her voice, creating a “deepfake,” which matches Harvey’s natural speech when reading a script.
Each episode is also accompanied by short, creative sound responses, reflective of the conversation topic and released weekly with every new instalment. Featured artist responses include a composition by Alexandra Spence made from degraded cassette tape recordings that have been buried in the ocean; a piece by artist and Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq; music created by the world’s first neural synthesiser, CellF, by Perth-based artist Guy Ben-Ary; a poem by artist and writer Tasnim Hossain; and an edited conversation between the podcast’s AI host and an artificially intelligent text generator.
FODI: The In-Between guests are local and international festival FODI alumni, including:
– Historians Stephen Fry and Joya Chatterji on whether the age of Enlightenment is truly coming to anend.
– Moral philosopher Peter Singer and business leader Sam Mostyn on the role of business in sustainability and climate action, and the ethics of responsibility we have toward the generation of humans who do not yet exist.
– Indigenous scholar Tyson Yunkaporta and academic Lee Vinsel on the passing age, apocalypses, and what is required of our species to maintain and repair our planet.
– Philosophers Slavoj Žižek and Eleanor Gordon-Smith on the proliferation of knowledge, the rise in conspiracy theories, and the space between knowledge and belief.
– Historian Joanna Bourke and AI researcher Toby Walsh ask what it means to be human, how violence operates between humans and machines, and the dangers of autonomous weaponry.
– Writer and social commentator Roxane Gay and moral philosopher Kate Manne on modern feminism, the danger of having a voice in online communication and the state of social media.
– Physician-scientist and stem cell researcher John Rasko and philosopher and neuro-ethicist S.Matthew Liao on the ethics and reality of the age of regenerative medicine, contemplating the reality of a distant future where genetic engineering helps humans to colonise future planets.
– Canadian author, social activist, and filmmaker Naomi Klein and writer, academic, lawyer, and broadcaster Waleed Aly on reconciling coloniser and Indigenous histories, trends of hyper- individualism and the cracks in our global systems that the pandemic exposed.
FODI: The In-Between debuts on 16 February, with two new episodes released weekly on Spotify and Apple.
The Festival of Dangerous Ideas will return to Sydney on 17-18 September 2022.
For more information on FODI: The In-Between and FODI, visit festivalofdangerousideas.com.
ABOUT FESTIVAL OF DANGEROUS IDEAS (FODI)
Presented by The Ethics Centre, FODI is Australia’s original provocative ideas festival. First held in 2009, it brings to light important conversations that push the boundaries of conventional thought and presents a line- up of international and local thinkers and culture creators, inviting audiences to immerse themselves in ideas, conversations and experiences that encourage debate and critical thinking.
FODI: The In-Between is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW