Call: Autonomy & Automation: Robotics, AI and the Digital Cultural Future (DCRC Seminar)

A Call for Papers/Presentations

DCRC presents: Autonomy & Automation: Robotics, AI and the Digital Cultural Future
A One Day Seminar at DCRC (Digital Cultures Research Centre, Bristol, UK)
Saturday March 8, 2014

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 for us to pose 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

Submissions for Papers/presentations dealing with one of the following areas are invited:

  • Creative, artistic or activist uses, reflections or interventions related to AI and robotics developments;
  • Ethical, juridicial and political issues related to the use of automatic decision-making systems autonomously or in combinations with human decision-makers;
  • Media debates and discourses concerning AI and robotics developments;
  • Emerging developments in robotics and AI and their cultural, social and political implications.

Abstracts should be 200 words, for a presentation of 20 min. maximum.

Deadline for submissions is 3 February, 2014. Email abstracts to Notification of acceptance by 14 February, 2014. Presenters can apply for domestic UK travel costs.

We encourage all submitters to attend and participate as we hope to develop the Seminar activities further through subsequent exchanges and collaborations. The event is free, but registration is required – go to

Venue: Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed Media Centre, Bristol BS1 5TX
Date: Saturday March 8, 2014.
Time: 10 am – 6.00 pm – Refreshments will be provided

Contact for further information or visit


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