Vienna Humanities Festival 2023

Vienna Humanities Festival 2023





“May you live in interesting times!” runs a famous curse. And there is certainly nothing boring about the world we now live in. In the past twelve months, we have been absorbing the implications of the Russo-Ukrainian war and managing its economic fallout. But the world has also been grappling with the advances in Artificial Intelligence. ChatGPT and other highly complex programs mimicking human neural networks threaten to turn society upside down. The promise of these technologies is enormous, but so is the temptation to outsource human creativity to machines.

These moments of dramatic and rapid change often produce not only the most colorful but also the most dangerous characters, promising easy political and economic routes out of the crisis: simple solutions which deny complexity; seeking scapegoats, the closing down of reasoned discourse, and a retreat from collective approaches in favor of narrow winner-takes-all solutions.

At this year’s Vienna Humanities Festival, we are looking at promises made in the past––some realized, some revealed as fantasy and even nightmare. We look at the promises being made right now: how to escape war; how to manage economic decline; how to battle climate change; how to resist autocracy and intolerance. We will ask which solutions being offered are illusions and which offer real hope.

Some of the world’s leading writers, artists, scientists, economists, and public intellectuals consider how we might free ourselves from the anxiety which pervades contemporary society, fulfill our promises and avoid temptation.

For more information go to: Vienna Humanities Festival 2023

For programm information go to: PROGRAMM 2023 | VIENNA HUMANITIES FESTIVAL

The Vienna Humanities Festival is a joint project by the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) and Time to Talk. In cooperation with: FalterOpen Society FoundationsStadt WienErste Stiftung, Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien and Volkstheater.

Cover picture: Illustration by Blagovesta Bakardjieva.

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Florian Bauer

Director Social Finance, Sustainability and Innovation
Since 2023, Florian Bauer has been responsible for social finance, sustainability and social innovation at ERSTE Foundation. Prior to this role, Florian worked in the NGO & Social Entrepreneurship sector for more than 13 years. He led the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral NGO that works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient systems in developing countries, and was Managing Director & COO of the Impact Hub Vienna. From 2020-2023, Florian established strategic alliances with key partners and helped to create innovative semantic technology solutions at Semantic Web Company (SWC), a leading IT company in semantic AI solutions.