Conference: Shifting AI Controversies
On behalf of the international research project Shaping 21st Century AI, the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) and the ZeMKI, University of Bremen, in cooperation with the research group “Politics of Digitalization” at the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), invite to an international conference on the topic of AI controversies. The conference will be held in English.
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?
The conference will hold keynotes, panels and interventions from scholars, civil society and practitioners on the topic of AI controversies.
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 / HIIG)
Lena Marie Henkes (HIIG)
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