Plenary lecture: Miha Kovač: In search of lost complexity: is AI making us stupid?

Over the last few years, we have been facing two interrelated trends: on the one hand a trend has been emerging in education of reading simplified and abridged texts, cleared of content that might be considered controversial or emotionally harmful to students, on the other hand, AI is able to shorten and recap texts instead of us, write summaries and essays without grammatical mistakes, and translate languages we don't understand. What is there left for humans to do in all this? Should we give up and leave machines to tackle intellectual challenges while we play in a simplified world? Or will we – quite the opposite – tackle challenges with more demanding education, reading more complicated texts and in thus utilise AI as a tool that enables us a broader and deeper insight into the issues of the contemporary world? Or is there a third way?

Miha Kovač is Professor at the Department of Library and Information Science and Book Studies at the University of Ljubljana. In his publishing career he has worked as an editor at two of the largest Slovene publishing houses and as editor of the Slovene edition of the National Geographic. In 1999 he started lecturing at the University of Ljubljana. Between 2011 and 2021 he was Head of Digital Development at Mladinska Knjiga, Slovenia's largest publishing house. He is author of over fifty articles and four books on the history of books, reading and publishing. His book Read to Breathe has been translated into seven languages. His latest book, Is This a Book?, co-authored with Angus Phillips, was published in Elements series by Cambridge University Press. He was the curator of Slovenia’s programme as guest of honour at the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair.

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