ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: March 2014

Call: 36th Annual Humanities and Technology Conference


St. Thomas University, Miami Gardens, Florida
06 – 08 November 2014

Deadline: August 1, 2014

We are happy to announce the call for papers for the 36th annual Humanities and Technology Association Conference. The main track for this year’s conference will be Technology and Politics. Papers are particularly welcome that address the democratization of science and technology; political ecology and digital activism; hyperobjectivities and technological mediations; biopolitics, including macro- and micro-biopolitics; technology of subjectivities, including the techno-politics of sexuality; surveillance technologies; digital policing and technologies of warfare (cyber, drone, etc.); gene technology and human engineering; GMOs, food security, and food sovereignty; the politics and polities of transhumanism and posthumanism; postmodern techno-science.

To allow for as broad of a range of scholars as possible, however, papers and panel suggestions that examine other issues in science and technology will also be arranged according to the following tracks:

TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL LIFE: topics will deal with questions such as: does technology enable new/destroy old forms of social life; advance/hinder gender equality; raise/diminish standards of living and economic well-being; suggest/force human adaptations to technological environments?

REPRESENTATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY: topics will treat the manifold interactions of art and technology; aesthetic and artistic accounts of and reactions to the destruction of old/creation of new technologies

TECHNOLOGY AND EDUCATION: topics will focus on the broader interface between technology and pedagogy; technology, education, and the classroom Read more on Call: 36th Annual Humanities and Technology Conference…

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Japanese rockstar Yoshiki engages in piano battle with hologram of himself

[From GizMag, where the story includes additional pictures]

Yoshiki and his hologram on stage

Japanese rockstar Yoshiki engages in piano battle with hologram of himself

By Nick Lavars
March 20, 2014

Following in the virtual footsteps of Tupac Shakur, at the SXSW festival last weekend Japanese musical icon Yoshiki used a hologram not just in an attempt to add a little flair to his performance, but to indulge those fans who can’t quite get enough of him.

Yoshiki, a musician, songwriter, composer, record producer, front man of heavy-metal band X Japan and classical soloist, appeared on stage at the music and technology festival to a rousing reception and proceeded to sit himself at one end of a double piano.

All appeared normal as Yoshiki began stroking the keys, but when a more clearly defined and life-like Yoshiki emerged from the left of stage, the audience began to grasp they had a one-of-a-kind piano battle on their hands. Read more on Japanese rockstar Yoshiki engages in piano battle with hologram of himself…

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Call: 14th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA 2014)


Fourteenth International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA 2014)

August 27-29, 2014, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) are interactive characters that exhibit human-like qualities and communicate with humans or with each other using natural human modalities such as facial expressions, speech and gesture. They are capable of real-time perception, cognition and action that allow them to participate in dynamic social environments.

IVA 2014 is an interdisciplinary annual conference and the main leading scientific forum for presenting research on modeling, developing, and evaluating intelligent virtual agents with a focus on communicative abilities and social behavior. In addition to presentations on theoretical issues, the conference encourages the showcasing of working applications. Researchers from the fields of human-human and human-robot interaction are also encouraged to share work with a relevance to intelligent virtual agents.

SPECIAL TOPIC: “Virtual Agents in Healthcare”.

In 2014, the IVA conference will have a special theme on the use of Virtual Agents in healthcare. This topic will touch on many aspects of Intelligent Virtual Agent theory and application. We will encourage submissions that deal with IVAs and models of health behavior change counseling; health education; physical rehabilitation and exercise training; group counseling; eldercare and companionate agents; and virtual patients. Read more on Call: 14th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA 2014)…

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3-D display offers chilling look at Nagasaki after A-bomb attack

[From The Asahi Shimbun, where the story includes additional images]

Virtual Nagasaki 1945

3-D display offers chilling look at Nagasaki after A-bomb attack

March 05, 2014
By Miyuki Kanno / Staff Writer

NAGASAKI–A new 3-D imaging display system allowing viewers to experience the devastation of Nagasaki immediately after the 1945 atomic bombing opened here on March 3.

Virtual Genshiya (Virtual atomic wasteland), developed by Takashi Fujiki, a professor of technology education at Nagasaki University, uses computer graphics to give viewers a panoramic view of a 500-meter radius of ground zero just after the blast.

The system is on display at the Art and Tech Exhibition Lab Sosokan, an art gallery that opened on the Nagasaki University campus on March 3. Read more on 3-D display offers chilling look at Nagasaki after A-bomb attack…

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Call: Arts,Design & Virtual Worlds – Special session at Cyberworlds 2014



University of Cantabria, Spain

Chair: Dr. Gianluca Mura, Politecnico di Milano University, Italy


Send your paper to:

More information from

Submissions include full paper (up to 8 pages), short paper (up to 4 pages) and poster (1 page, abstract). The papers must be written in English, carefully proofread, and formatted to Conference Publishing Services Manuscript Formatting Guidelines from

Please use the following template for preparing your papers from: or

By submitting a paper the authors confirm that their papers represent original previously unpublished work, and if accepted, the author will register for the conference and present the papers.


Virtual Worlds are information spaces and communities that immensely augment the way we interact, participate and receive information throughout the world. Virtual Worlds seriously impact our lives and the evolution of the world economy by taking such forms as social networking services, 3D shared virtual communities, and massively multiplayer online role-playing games.


The goal of the Arts,Design and Virtual Worlds is to analyze and trace the advancements of new Art and Design theories and practices in Virtual Worlds. Arts,Design and Virtual Worlds is a special session at the 2014 International Conference on Cyberworlds Read more on Call: Arts,Design & Virtual Worlds – Special session at Cyberworlds 2014…

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Zuckerberg on the future of Oculus VR and “feeling truly present”

[There has been lots of coverage of Facebook’s purchase of Oculus VR, including predictions and concerns about the implications (e.g., see stories at Fast Company and Time). Here’s how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg describes the future of VR and presence in his announcement on Facebook]

Read more on Zuckerberg on the future of Oculus VR and “feeling truly present”…

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Call: Symposium on Emotional AI at BICA 2014

Call for Participation
Symposium on Emotional AI at BICA 2014 (International Conference of the Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures Society)
MIT, Boston, MA, Nov 7-9 2014

This symposium will focus on emotions in artificial intelligence, a topic of increasing interest in many areas of research and development.

We invite submissions in the form of papers or presentations reviewing recent/ongoing original work, and especially software demonstrations of different aspects of emotions in AI. Suggested topics include:

  • Advancing taxonomies and models of emotion
  • Generating emotions in AI
  • AI recognition of emotions in humans
  • Emotional content and tone in AI conversation
  • Uses for emotion in AI in training, games, social, or other applications
  • Do AI emotions need to look like human emotions?
  • Are emotions in AI “real” or only simulated?

Papers or presentations covering new work and results are preferred over philosophical work about emotions in AI, but submissions in the latter area will be considered. Read more on Call: Symposium on Emotional AI at BICA 2014…

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Sulon Technologies enters VR race with new kind of immersive experience

[From VentureBeat, where the story includes an additional image]

Dhanushan Balachandreswaran of Sulon Technologies

[Image: Dhanushan Balachandreswaran of Sulon Technologies. Image Credit: Dean Takahashi.]

Sulon Technologies enters the virtual reality race with a new kind of immersive experience

March 19, 2014
Dean Takahashi

Sulon Technologies is unveiling a new kind virtual reality platform that will turn any room into a fanciful virtual space.

Sulon is showing off its demo of The Cortex virtual reality “spatial gaming” platform at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. In doing so, the company is trying to win over the hearts of game developers in what is becoming a fierce competitive battle to define the next generation of gaming. Competitors include Oculus VR and new entrant Sony, which announced its Project Morpheus at the GDC on Tuesday evening.

The Toronto company has taken a different approach from other kinds of virtual reality, said Dhanushan (Dhan) Balachandreswaran, chief executive of the firm. You wear a headset with goggles that cover your eyes. It then uses magnetic technology to detect the borders of the room. It can then take game imagery and virtually paint those images onto the walls of the real room. So it’s like layering a fantasy world on top of the real world.

“We’re going to change the way the world perceives entertainment,” Balachandreswaran said. Read more on Sulon Technologies enters VR race with new kind of immersive experience…

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Call: Authenticity – Theme issue of Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice

Call for Publications

Theme: Authenticity
Publication: Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice
Date: Theme Issue 21:2 (2017)
Deadline: 1.1.2016

Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice seeks paper proposals for a theme issue devoted to the topic of ‘Authenticity’.

‘Why’, the New Statesman asked in March 2013, ‘are we so obsessed with the pursuit of authenticity?’ Phenomena as diverse as snobbish hipster lionising of artisan coffee and organic food, the craze for vintage clothing and scandals over James Frey’s fake misery memoir or Beyoncé’s lip-synching at Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2013 all seem to testify to pervasive contemporary anxieties over reality, sincerity and truth. Of course, fretting over authenticity has a venerable lineage in western culture, from Plato through to the existentialists, and creative artists have long interrogated and toyed with our hunger for the real (so, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe in 1719 was not truly ‘written by himself’). Yet a search for ‘authenticity’ through Google Book’s Ngram Viewer reveals a sharp increase in frequency of use of the term since the early 1990s. In an age of unprecedented cultural globalisation and insecurity about identity, in which digital technologies have rendered ‘everything liquid and endlessly revisable’, our fetishizing desire to distinguish the trustworthy from the fake has palpably intensified.*

These concerns are reflected in scholarship across the humanities and social sciences. In historical theory, the linguistic turn in effect accused historical practitioners of an act of imposture, for obfuscating the categorical difference between their writing and the reality it purported to represent. Reactions against these charges frequently embody a yearning to recuperate that reality, whether through the advocacy of affective, somatic and materialist turns or in the search for the enduring ‘presence’ of the past. Relatedly, Marnie Hughes-Warrington recently brought into focus various forms of forgery, deception, prescription, appropriation and outright denial in her exploration of the genre of Revisionist Histories (2013). In memory studies, the issue is central, and engaged in diverse ways. On the one hand, technological change has engendered new forms of representation and modes of immersive display which produce ‘prosthetic’ memories, deeply-felt emotional and affective connections to pasts which were not directly experienced. On the other hand, and stimulated especially by the imminent passing of the generations that lived through the Second World War and the Holocaust, there is a proliferation of concepts such as ‘post-memory’, ‘secondary witnessing’ and ‘vicarious trauma’, seeking to grasp how a traumatic heritage might be transmitted beyond the span of living memory. Meanwhile, practices of ‘second-order’ or ‘mimetic’ remembrance flourish, whether in the ‘virtual Jewish’ renaissance in post-Holocaust, post-Cold War, Eastern Europe, historical re-enactment or video games. Simultaneously, across varied domains of cultural, scientific and literary theory, speculation rages about the ethical, political and aesthetic implications of the ‘posthuman’ future, as traditional notions of human selfhood – of consciousness, intelligence and mortality – are challenged by cyborgisation and looming environmental catastrophe. Such examples could be endlessly multiplied.

Rethinking History has previously published work touching on some of the problems entailed here, including themed issues on ‘reenactment’ (11:3 2007), ‘uncertain knowledge’ (18:1 2014) and ‘historical justice’ (forthcoming 2014). We now want to curate a focused yet wide-ranging and multi-disciplinary interrogation of the notion of ‘authenticity’. What precursors and antecedents can we discern for these contemporary anxieties? How is ‘authenticity’ being redefined and challenged today by technological changes and intellectual shifts? What is at stake in social, cultural and political terms in these transactions, and in our desire to retain a secure grip on the real? How should we reflexively diagnose our contemporary obsession with the possibilities and perils of ‘authenticity’?

We welcome proposals for submissions speaking to these questions without restriction as to disciplinary perspective or substantive content (predominantly ‘theoretical’ or ‘empirical’ contributions will be equally welcome). Submissions in any of the genres and formats which the journal publishes will be considered, from conventional research articles through pieces of creative writing to miniatures. For further details on the types of articles that have appeared in the journal see: Read more on Call: Authenticity – Theme issue of Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice…

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iRobot’s Colin Angle on why people build strong attachments to robots

[From New Scientist via Slate; more information about AVA 500 is available from TechWeekEurope]


[Image: The Roomba iRobot. Courtesy of Jing a Ling/Flickr]

My Roomba’s Name Is Roswell

Why people build strong attachments to robots

By Celeste Biever

Colin Angle is co-founder and CEO of iRobot in Bedford, Mass. The company recently created a brushless version of the Roomba vacuum, and this week released a telepresent robot called Ava 500. Its Packbots will also look for bombs at the football World Cup in Brazil this year.

Celeste Biever: People dress up Roomba vacuum cleaners. Soldiers mourn bomb-disposal Packbots. Are these responses to your robots a surprise?
Colin Angle:
If you ask people who doesn’t own Roombas if they would name them, they almost violently say, “No, why would I name my vacuum cleaner?” Yet once they own one, more than 80 percent of people do. In the beginning of Roomba, we all took turns answering the support line. Once, a woman called and explained that her robot had a defective motor. I said, “Send it back. We’ll send you a new one.” She said, “No, I’m not sending you Rosie.”

CB: Do you sympathize with that personally?
Yes. My Roomba’s name is Roswell. There is the moment when you are sitting on the couch and Roomba turns itself on and goes out and starts working. You really appreciate it because it works hard for you, and it deserves some kind of recognition. Read more on iRobot’s Colin Angle on why people build strong attachments to robots…

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