Two letters that have people enthused, confused or downright worried: AI. The Smart World exhibition at the Technisches Museum explores the reality of Artificial Intelligence, highlighting the issues and potential impacts on modern life.
- Runs Oct 19, 2023 – Jun 30, 2024
- Rather thought provoking
- Nice futuristic exhibition design too
- Bilingual (English & German)
- Book Technisches Museum tickets* online
- See also:
How AI changes things
(Cloud City; press photo © Technisches Museum Wien)
Now here’s an exhibition so timely, it could double as a wall clock. The past few months have seen AI enter the public consciousness like never before.
For some, Artificial Intelligence promises a new dawn and a bright future. For others, socioeconomic turmoil and existential angst. What, then, is the reality? How will AI impact our lives and wider society?
Nobody can say for sure (not even ChatGPT), but the Smart World exhibition at the Technisches Museum at least helps you grasp some of the key issues.
The displays essentially address three overriding themes:
- How does AI technology work?
- Where do we find AI already in place?
- What does an AI-influenced future hold for society, urban development and people’s daily lives?
(Machine learning; press photo © Technisches Museum Wien)
AI is used here in its widest sense to mean smart / advanced systems, technologies and software; we’re not talking sentient robots quite yet.
In raising and examining the questions in those three main themes, the exhibition also highlights some of the contentious issues around Artificial Intelligence, such as privacy, corporate responsibility, corporate greed, and algorithm-driven discrimination.
Wandering through Smart World, you discover, for example, intriguing examples of how AI is already incorporated within industrial, healthcare and household technologies.
And you learn, for example, how AI might impact job markets. Or how the cities of the future could look in an AI-driven world. Or how various groups are seeking to guide AI use and development into more benign directions.
The exhibition itself follows a futuristic layout that feels like a technological rabbit warren with something new around every corner.
(Neural network; press photo © Technisches Museum Wien)
The end effect is rather thought provoking.
So, for example, looking at smart applications in households left me wondering at what point optimisation becomes unnecessary. Do I really need a smart toothbrush, given the resource costs of such a device?
Many issues around AI seem to revolve around how you value the pros and cons. Digital convenience versus energy use. Enhanced leisure versus loss of privacy. Efficiency in the workplace versus potential job losses. And so on.
The exhibition does a good job of alerting the viewer to the various issues and encourages proactive participation in the debate around AI.
What I particularly valued was the reminder that we should not perceive AI in isolation, but in the context of who is behind it: many of the potential problems arise through the motives and attitudes of the developers as much as the nature of the technology itself.
(Smart World comes to the Technical Museum from Dortmund’s DASA Arbeitswelt as part of a three-way cooperation that also includes Granada’s Parque de las Ciencias.)
Dates, tickets & tips
Take a dip into the future from October 19th, 2023 to June 30th, 2024. An entrance ticket for or from the Technisches Museum also includes the special exhibitions.
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
Needless to say, the wider museum has plenty to offer those interested in science and technology.
How to get there
Follow the travel tips on the main Technisches Museum page.
Address: Mariahilfer Straße 212, 1140 Vienna