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Shifting AI Controversies - Shaping AI
28 September 2023

Call for Interventions and Contributions: Shifting AI Controversies

Im Auftrag des internationalen Forschungsprojekts Shaping 21st Century AI laden das Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft (HIIG) und das ZeMKI, Universität Bremen, in Kooperation mit der Forschungsgruppe “Politik der Digitalisierung” am Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB) zu einer internationalen Konferenz zum Thema KI-Kontroversen ein.

The conference will hold keynotes, panels and interventions on the topic of AI controversies. Abstracts should be submitted no later than 30 October 2023.


Shifting AI Controversies
Prompts, Provocations & Problematisations for Society-Centered AI 
29 & 30 January 2024
Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), Germany


Controversies about AI abound, especially since ChatGPT took over the Internet by storm, becoming the most popular applications in the Web’s history within only a few months. The current excitement about the perils and prospects of general purpose AI applications like ChatGPT is only the most recent wave of public interest in the long history of “artificial intelligence” (AI). With its metaphysical imaginaries of human-machine symbiosis, anthropomorphic robots and machine thinking, arguably oversized scientific claims and technological developments in this field have always raised concerns. What the current debate makes much more visible than previous attention cycles, though, is that contemporary AI companies and scientists dominate not only the discourse promoting AI’s prospects but also that on AI’s perils. From engineers at OpenAI to research pioneer Geoffrey Hinton, technologists and industry-based scientists increasingly articulate warnings that AI might cause serious and fundamental damage to societies. With this move, the already dominant players are now also occupying the space of public critique, yielding the risk that activism, social science, critical journalism and the arts are pushed even further  to the margins of public and expert debates. Are we currently having the public controversies on AI that we should have, or is AI panic derailing us from actual and relevant concerns? How do we get to the controversies that we need and to the exploration and articulation of society-centered AI?


Please take note of the complete call for contributions:

Go to full call for contributions


We welcome contributions from scholars of diverse disciplines as well as interventions from civil society, practitioners and developers. Your submissions should engage with the questions and provocations posed in the complete call for contributions. 

  • Extended abstracts of approximately 4,000 to 6,000 characters in length (excl. references) should be submitted no later than 30 October 2023 via the form below 
  • Speakers will be notified by 16 November 2023

Conference Organisation 

The conference is organised as a closing event of the project Shaping 21st Century AI, which is a multinational collaboration of partners in Germany, France, UK and Canada that examines the global trajectories of public discourse on artificial intelligence. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, Germany), the Agence nationale de la Recherche (ANR, France), the Economic and Social Research Council of UK Research and Innovation (ESRC, the UK) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC, Canada) in the Open Research Area (ORA) scheme.


Christian Katzenbach (ZeMKI, University of Bremen / Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society)

Lena Marie Henkes (Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society)


If you have any questions, you can contact the conference organisers via lena.henkes@hiig.de.

Christian Katzenbach, Prof. Dr.

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