Prof. Sebastian Hsien-hao Liao

Dean, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, NTU

What Is Left of Humanity? Creative and Emotional Capacities in the Age of AI

Abstract: With AI’s increasing penetration of human life, we regrettably notice the trend where AI is becoming more and more “humanized” whereas human beings are becoming consistently AI-ized. By this I mean we are losing the traits that make us human and with which we can justify AI as supplementary to the humans. This crisis concerns therefore not how human jobs will be filled up by AI but more about whether ultimately the humans can remain relevant at all in an AI crowded world. It seems that at the end of the day there are only two human capacities where the humans still surpass AI and will for a long time keep the human head above water. That is, the creative and emotional capacities. And they are two sides of one coin which are the core of the humanities and necessarily born out of a very fine command of one’s first language and the humanistic values carried by it. When one can feel deeply, one can create and in positive ways at that. And only by foregrounding and optimizing these two capacities can the humans exist meaningfully in the age of AI, which means being beneficial to the planet as a whole. In view of the blind push toward a world further dominated by AI, a push which may not be mindful of the crises resultant from the Anthropocene and likely in the same breath unwittingly be contributing to the advent of the Technocene, we need to remind ourselves to create for a better future by re-integrating the humans into the rhythm of the myriad things where the human beings are just one species.

Speaker Info


Dr. Sebastian Hsien-hao Liao is Dean of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, and Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at National Taiwan University. He is also President of the Taipei Chinese Center of International PEN. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University and waDeleuze and Taoism as well as edited volumes such as Beyond Apocalypse: The Plague, Globalizationrature Association of Taiwan and Commissioner of Culture at Taipei City Government. His research interests include: contemporary literary and cultural theories, comparative poetics, techno-humanities, Red-ology, the Chinese diaspora, modern Anglo-American literature, Taoist aesthetics, creativity studies, cultural policy, etc. The books he has published include among others Love and Deconstruction, Brave New Century: Pre-modern, Modern, and Postmodern, Sorrows of Mending Heaven: Dream of the Red Chamber as National Allegory, Who Is Afraid of Meaninglessness: from the Avant-garde to Postmodernism, Illusions of Identity: Taiwan Cinema since the New Wave, and Deleuze and Taoism as well as edited volumes such as Beyond Apocalypse: The Plague, Globalization and the Anthropocene, The Fantasy of Bilingual Nation, The Multiplicities of China: A Post-Western Perspective, and AI and Humanity.