3 insights from C2 2023

5 things we learned at C2 Montreal 2023

We had some special guests in our backyard last week. World-renowned historians, artists, Olympians, leaders of sports federations, an MIT professor…oh, and Tony Hawk.

Here’s 3 things we learned from this year’s cast of the illustrious C2 Montréal.

1. AI is at an inflection point

Historian Yuval Noah Harari and renowned scientist Yoshua Bengio met for the first time to co-host a talk about the rapid advancement of generative AI. Each argued that the time has come to pause its development until states can keep up with legislation that controls its power, which is already capable of significant electoral manipulation. The long term is of course more ambiguous, but Bengio used this metaphor to illustrate a future where AI’s intelligence surpasses our own: “It would resemble the relationship we currently have to frogs and mice. Do we treat frogs very well?” Oof.

2. Sexuality and algorithms are at odds

Panelists Edouard Lanctot, Sandra Rodriguez, and Maude Huysmans have dedicated their careers to studying pornography’s effects on our psyche. Each of their work touched on a similar conclusion: humans are fluid, and algorithms are not. As we continue to flux and flow with our relationship to gender, sexuality, and expression, AI would rather keep us in neat little boxes. Or, erm, “categories.”

3. It’s time to rethink building new

Sid Lee Architecture hosted a workshop titled Why Build? based on the increasing environmental, social and economic challenges of new constructions. Real estate is now the greatest carbon emitting sector in the world, and some cities are already developing stringent policies like parallel retrofitting and rebuild applications to curb the industry’s emissions. Conference guests from all walks of life formed groups to imagine new possibilities for the vacant Lotto Quebec building and to challenge some fundamental beliefs about how we organize cities.

& That’s a wrap. C you next year! :)