Pirelli Ponders AI In Annual Report

Illustration by Liza Donnelly

While most annual reports tend to be on the dry side, featuring no shortage of statistics, tire company Pirelli used its annual missive to take a deep dive into artificial intelligence. 

Noted writers and artists were invited to look into the theme of artificial intelligence in their own narrative styles.

The editorial project “Ma(n)chine Leaning” report includes essays from five managers at the tire company who work daily with artificial intelligence.

The volume also contains a text generated by chatGPT, the chatbot based on AI and automated learning, asked to examine the relation between man and machine, on error and infallibility.

The essays are accompanied by cartoons by Liza Donnelly, a contributor to the New Yorker.



Companies are pivot points where cultures meet and collide, and where humanistic knowledge melds with the scientific, says Maurizio Abet, senior vice president communication and brand image at Pirelli.

“In our annual report, we try to reflect on new trends or realities that have yet to take their definitive form but which we can see coming,” Abet says.  

In the piece “Writing with artificial intelligence,” Hanif Kureishi and his son Sachin don't demonize the use of the platform guided by artificial intelligence to compose texts. 

In underlining, instead, the potential but also the creative limits of these technologies, they note that “an authorless text is like a pretty car with no engine: it’ll never have any cultural or historical significance. Authenticity is subjectivity, and subjectivity the lifeblood of a story.”

In the piece “To err is human, luckily,” the writer Nicola Lagioia says the progress of artificial intelligence is based on the capacity to learn from one’s own errors, even if this does not make it infallible. The training data that AI draws on is consummately human, but above all, it is used in a quantitative way, free of the nebulous biological processes on which human reasoning is grounded.

On the question of the ability to learn from one’s own mistakes by man and machine, Chat GPT,also had an answer, which it explained with "diplomacy":  “Human beings are emotional creatures. Even if they are capable of intellectually comprehending the consequences of their actions, they can be guided by immediate desires, emotional needs or deeply rooted habits.”

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