The seminar offers insights into the “C-AIRɛ” International Research Project, which, led by the University of Turin in partnership with Middlesex University and the West University of Timişoara, has conceived an innovative training practice targeted at primary school children and realized through aesthetic experiences conducted with AI generated visual arts. The massive diffusion of “radical” technologies brings enormous potential but at the same time presents far reaching and intractable risks.  These risks are associated with the ever more unlimited power of the human being – and especially of future adults – to use technologies for the destruction of the self and nature as well as for the indiscriminate overcoming of the boundaries of the human condition. There follows an important and urgent need for a formation that is able to guide new generations in an early and universal way from primary school onwards to cultivate those particular human qualities – of thought and judgement – necessary for the critical, creative and ethical orientation of the new AITs. This training can find a particularly promising opportunity in aesthetic experiences, exercising in children the capacity to think and feel the experience in a comprehensive and integral, critical and creative way, allowing them to reconstruct the full sense of it, valuing aspects of diversity and divergence. An aesthetic experience that is like an encounter with creation, in which AI technologies are seen as creatures among creatures. It is about ‘creaturifying’ artificial intelligence rather than humanizing it. Removing, therefore, the supremacy of the human, and subverting the limits of the Anthropocene. Focusing on Paulo Freire and Danilo Dolci’s perspectives on utopia and its educational significance, the seminar will also consider the possibilities for a utopian ecopedagogy as a remedy to the threat posed by the irresponsible and uncontrolled incursion of AI. The intent is to create new ecopedagogies that are critical and creative, accept and negotiate the contamination of the constantly shifting borders between humans, machines, nature, nonhuman animals and objects, and contribute to the search for solutions to the climate crisis we are facing.

Bio: Dr Emanuela Guarcello teaches “Institutions and Contemporary History of Pedagogy”o n the Degree Course in Childhood and Primary Teachers Education (Savigliano, Collegno) in the Department of Philosophy and Sciences of Education at the University of Turin. She previously taught General and Social Pedagogy at the Department of Public Health and Pediatric Sciences and Clinical and Biological Sciences of the University of Turin. Her research interests cover character skills education in childhood, judgement education and themes of justice with particular focus on scholastic context and its territorial relationships. Her publications include: with A. Longo (eds.) Children as Agents of Change: Raising up Critical Thinking and Judgment in the Early Years (Routledge, forthcoming); Scuola, carattere e skills. Dal gusto al giudizio (FrancoAngeli, 2020); Le azioni della pazienza (Studium, 2019); La scuola e la capacità di valutare. Le basi per una società digitale a misura umana (in Nuova Secondaria Ricerca, 2020); Research “Quality” in Industry 4.0. The Definition of a Human Measure for Evaluating Research in Education (in IJHSSE, 2020); Percorsi divergenti in giudizio. Il senso educativo dell’opera del giudice nel percorso penale minorile (Progedit, 2021), Il disputandum come pratica educativa nella scuola primaria (in Studium Educationis, 2021).

Bio: Dr Abele Longo is Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies in the Department of Education at Middlesex University. His main research interests relate to ecopedagogy, ecocriticism (poetry and cinema), audiovisual and literary translation. His publications include: with E. Guarcello (eds.) Children as Agents of Change: Raising up Critical Thinking and Judgment in the Early Years (Routledge, forthcoming); Danilo Dolci – Environmental Education and Empowerment (Springer 2020); ‘Roma, viandanza dell’esilio. Rafael Alberti tradotto da Vittorio Bodini’ in N. di Nunzio and F. Ragni (Eds.) (2014) “Già troppe volte esuli” Letteratura di frontiera e di esilio, Morlacchi Editore, Perugia; ‘The Cinema of Ciprì and Maresco: Kynicism as a Form of Resistance’, in W. Hope (Ed.) (2010) Italian Film Directors in the New Millennium, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Cambridge; ‘Subtitling the Italian South’, in New Trends in Audiovisual Translation, Jorge Díaz-Cintas (Ed.) (2009) Multilingual Matters, Bristol; ‘Palermo in the Films of Ciprì and Maresco’, in Italian Cityscapes, Culture and Urban Change in Contemporary Italy, (R. Lumley, J. Foot, Eds.) (2004), Exeter University Press, Exeter.

Image from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927)