Autonomy and automation: robotics, AI and the digital cultural future

My former colleague Patrick Crogan is convening a workshop through the DCRC concerning contemporary understandings of autonomy and automation in relation to robotics. Looks like a really interesting event and the keynote speakers are fantastic. See more below.

A one day symposium hosted by DCRC/UWE Bristol

Saturday, March 8th
10:00 – 18:00
Pervasive Media Studio

Through a curiously ambivalent wave of media attention, robotics and AI have emerged as major topics for media and cultural research. Accounts of drones and surveillance applications sit alongside promises of beneficial medical and social uses of ‘helpful’ robots and intelligent systems. All symptomatic of an increasing uncertainty around the character of technoscience and the technocultural transformation it hastens onward.

This one day seminar seeks to contribute toward the placing of robotics and AI firmly on the critical agenda via an interdisciplinary approach bringing humanities, science and technology studies into dialogue.

In doing so it will respond to questions around autonomy and automation that robotics and AI developments are posing today in social, cultural, political and military registers. If these questions are not entirely new, the rapid advances in these fields of technoscientific endeavour make it increasingly urgent to repose them, not least because what seems to be looming on the horizon is the disappearance of the critical autonomy to interrogate and to reshape the cultural and political adoption of such advances.

Keynote speakers will be Lucy Suchman of Lancaster University’s Sociology Department, member of Lancaster’s Centres for Science Studies and for Gender and Women’s Studies and member of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, and Joanna Bryson of Bath University’s Computer Science Department, leader of its Artificial Models of Natural Intelligence research sub-group and co-author of the EPSRC Principles of Robotics.

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