Ken Hollings is a writer, broadcaster and cultural theorist. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies; and he has written and presented features for BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and Resonance 104.4 FM. Recent broadcasts have included Cutting Up the Cut-Ups and Watcha Doin, Marshall McLuhan? He is the author of the books Destroy All Monsters, Welcome to Mars and The Bright Labyrinth: Sex Death and Design in the Digital Regime. His newest book, The Space Oracle, will be published by Strange Attractor Press in the summer of 2017.
Spambot EVP Poetics: Smalltalk for Lonely Ghosts
The main thrust of the talk will be a critical account of my encounters with spambot activity on my Twitter timeline and the connections between their statements and various cases of Electronic Voice Phenomena as described by Konstantin Raudive and William S Burroughs nearly 50 years ago. It will focus in particular on the moment when language appears to become more autonomous as it increasingly evades the laws of meaning. The final format will probably be part reading, part lecture.
ALAN FT WINFIELD
Alan FT Winfield is Professor of Robot Ethics at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, UK, and Visiting Professor at the University of York. He received his PhD in Electronic Engineering from the University of Hull in 1984, then co-founded and led APD Communications Ltd until taking-up appointment at UWE, Bristol in 1992. Winfield co-founded the Bristol Robotics Laboratory where his research is focussed on cognitive robotics; he is especially interested in robots as working models of life, evolution, intelligence and culture.
Winfield is an advocate for robot ethics and is actively engaged in the development of standards for responsible robotics. Alan has published over 200 works, including Robotics: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012); he lectures widely on robotics, presenting to both academic and public audiences, and blogs at alanwinfield.blogspot.com
When Robots tell each other stories
In this talk I will first describe a recent project that explored how artificial culture might emerge in 'societies' of robots, which included experiments on imitation and learning. I will then bring the story up to date by describing a proposal for an embodied computational model of storytelling, using robots. If it could be built, the model would open the possibility for experimental demonstration and investigation of how simple narrative might emerge from interactions with the world, and then be shared - as stories - with other robots.
ANNA RIDLER & GEORGINA WARD DYER
Georgia Ward Dyer studied Philosophy at the University of Cambridge before developing an art practice which focuses on creating conversations about abstract, complex ideas by making them tangible through process-led, multivalent works. Her work often addresses questions of meaning, ontology and epistemology. She is currently completing postgraduate study in Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art.
Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher who works with information and data. She is currently studying Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art in London. Prior to this, she completed a degree in English Literature and Language at Oxford University, and worked in consultancy advising governments internationally on communications security. She is particularly interested in constructing stories and narratives and exploring the intersections of where the quantitative meets the qualitative.
Action Tells his Story
In this talk we explore the quirks and circularities of what happens when machines infer from what humans have taught them, in particular focusing on image captioning, speech recognition and text. At this point in technological development, machines enact distorted versions of language. This is visible through the applications of their use of language that sporadically produce results which to us are compellingly absurd. We look at these instances of the absurd, which have formed part of our own works, and to us have more to them than just being compelling. They provide us with an opportunity to gain insight into the hidden rules of how an artificial intelligence parses the world. However since these tools are powered by machine learning, their performance is constantly improving and reaching perfection. We look at how instances of the absurd will disappear and with it our glimpse into how machines structure their understanding of the world.
Hannah Lammin is a philosopher with an interest in social relations, media technologies and performance. She recently completed her PhD in philosophy, which uses a Laruellian framework to re-stage the experiential conceptions of 'community' in the work of Georges Bataille and Jean-Luc Nancy, according to a non-standard theatrical syntax. She lectures in media and cultural theory at the University of Greenwich and UAL/Camberwell.
Performing Machine Languages: from automatic writing to the transcendental computer
This paper examines theoretical presuppositions about the essence of language by examining two mechanisms for machinic language production: the notional 'abstract machine' that Alan Turing proposed as passing his Imitation Game test (1950); and the collective writing system created in Ron Athey’s performance work Gifts of the Spirit: Automatic Writing (2011). Turing's machine exemplifies a scientific conception of machine language, whereas Athey’s models a philosophical conception of language ultimately grounded in the human.
Drawing on Jon McKenzie’s (2001) taxonomy of performance paradigms, the paper analyses how these theoretical perspectives, in distinct ways, posit language as an act of performance. It then utilizes François Laruelle’s notion of the Transcendental Computer (2005) as a non-standard theoretical apparatus for re-deploying both paradigms-radicalizing the performativity of language and estranging the speaking/writing subject from both philosophical and computational grounds. It thus allows us to view the act of language in a genuinely post-humanist manner.
Kyran Joughin lectures in film and critical practice at Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL. Her research centres on Urbanism, documentary and artists' film: most recently writing on Jennet Thomas: MIRAJ (Moving Image Review and Art Journal), Vol 5, Numbers 1&2, Oct 2016 and currently working on the essay-films of Fiona Tan. She is part of the group/process radicalreThink, www.radicalreThink.info, whose next publication will appear in Art, Politics and the Pamphleteer, eds. Gillian Whiteley and Jane Tormey, Bloomsbury, 2018.
The Computer says yes I said yes I will Yes. She, her, Eve.
"and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me"
The Computer says yes I said yes I will Yes. She, her, Eve.
Reflections on the gendered language of AI on film. These woven together by myths of transformation: spirit becoming human becoming spirit. Or, as in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, "more human than humans." In London, 1836, Charles Babbage designated Ada Byron Lovelace as 'The Enchantress of Number', her method later described as the first computer programme. Copenhagen, 1837, Hans Christian Andersen published his version of the Undine myth, The Little Mermaid. In Andersen's tale a mermaid who loves a sailor must sacrifice her voice to gain a soul. Artificial Intelligence, in filmic form, is the machine that wants to become human; the dangerously more-human-than-human. Through examples from The Andromeda Strain, 1971 to her, 2011, this presentation considers female filmic AI as disembodied, gendered voice: shape-shifting, ambiguous and sometimes silent.
Mark Coeckelbergh is Professor of Philosophy of Media and Technology at the Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna, Austria and part-time Professor of Technology and Social Responsibility at the Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility, De Montfort University, UK. Currently he is Vice-President/ President-Elect of the Society for Philosophy and Technology.
Previously he was co-Chair of the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Technical Committee on Robot Ethics, was involved in European research projects in the areas of robotics and responsible innovation and was Managing Director of the 3TU Centre for Ethics and Technology. His publications include New Romantic Cyborgs (MIT 2017), Money Machines (Ashgate 2015), Environmental Skill (Routledge 2015), Human Being @ Risk (Springer 2013), Growing Moral Relations (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), and numerous articles in the area of philosophy of technology, in particular ethics of robotics and ICT. He also has research interests in moral philosophy, environmental philosophy and ethics of finance.
Language as Technology and Technology as Language
In this presentation I use Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations to metaphorically compare the use of language with the use of technology - with the metaphor applied in both directions. Taking seriously Wittenstein's view that the use of words is like the use of tools, I argue that technology, like language, is embedded in games and a form of life. I explore what this means for current developments in computing, robotics, and artificial intelligence, which are often misinterpreted as concerned with artefacts isolated from their use and in particular the social and cultural context of their use.
Throughout her practice Iris strives to create relationships between form and content, applying a design approach to poetic projects. As an active member of the London poetry scene she has given both individual and collaborative performances at a range of events as well as producing poetic responses to fine art exhibitions. Her visual poems and digital drawings have appeared in the Writers Forum magazine Pocket Litter, the collective exhibition We Fiddle While Rome Burns (Donetsk 2014), and have been sold at auction in Versailles (2015). Iris also curates events seeking possibilities beyond the traditional format of poetry readings, each of which acts as a separate live experiment, linking poetry and other art-forms such as film, visual arts, sound, and design.
A performance exploring tensions between individual and collective, conscious and artificial, determined and arbitrary instances of speech.
Dr. Marilyn Allen is a lecturer, an artist and one half of the collaborative double act 'matthews and allen'. matthews and allen's research emerges as an experimental inquiry into collaborative voicing which typically problematises monovocality through a pluralisation of voices. The methodological use of citationality evokes a state of indeterminacy wherein authorial precedence is unsettled and a disjunctive network of knowledge is established. Allen's praxis speculatively engages with performance writing through critical disruption and a ludic approach to language.
A Dialogic Interrelation with the Electronic Other
In the 21st Century, communication typically takes place in an electronic context. When we engage with electronic systems our voices enter into the maelstrom of utterances, both generated and archived, in digital space. This digital terrain is where the human voice is deterritorialised from the corporeal, decentring the human voice from its former epicentric position in the system of knowledge. Each digital encounter may generate an abstract collaboration with a multiplicity of voices within what may be described as a digital-bricolage-machine. This digital-bricolage-machine, like the Deleuzoguattarian desiring-machine, is a force capable of autopoiesis, where trajectories are punctuated and disrupted through connections to other machines, to other voices.
MARK LEAHY is a writer and artist operating among textual practices and performance. Recent performances include subject to gesture (Liverpool, Apr 2017); his voice (Counter, Plymouth, Oct 2015; Other Room, Manchester, Feb 2016), flat-head self-tapping (London, May 2015) and answering machine for Experimentica14 (Cardiff, Nov 2014). He has published texts to accompany work by artists including Nathan Walker, Katy Connor, Steven Paige, and LOW PROFILE; and critical essays in C21 Literature, Open Letter, Performance Research and Writing in Creative Practice. He teaches part-time at Plymouth University and is a director of art.earth. www.markleahy.net
his voice presents a live voicing of the results of orchestrated Twitter searches. A body of text, gathered via online searches, was edited to develop two- or three-word phrases. These phrases are to search Twitter, and the outcome of this process is converted to audio using text-to-speech software. Wearing headphones to receive the audio the performer speaks the results, including URLs, hashtags and other coded elements that are common in tweets. his voice explores tensions between the voice as identifier and identity and the voice as constructed and appropriated. Testing the vocal ability of the performer, to make the sounds he hears, the human / media interface is dramatised and failure or error is made audible, alongside moments of virtuosity. The gap between what is being spoken and who is speaking it is highlighted, and any stable sense we have of voice as representative is disrupted.
Dr. Sheena Calvert is an artist/designer/writer. She has an active interest in the intersections between a wide range of disciplines, including art/design/ science/technology and philosophy. Both her personal work, and teaching practice crosses theory and practice, writing and making. As a typographer and book designer by background, she has a long-standing interest in, and is immersed in questions about the materiality of language (text/speech) and its implications for how we form knowledge (of the world, ourselves). She is an avid humanist, interested in initiating deeper investigations of these subjects, and in promoting cross-disciplinary thinking. Published work includes: Materia Prima, MateriaSecunda (Intellect: 2013) and The Moral Economies of Language in Digital Space, for the Leonardo Electronic Almanac (MIT: 2013). Selected exhibitions of creative work include The Typographic Singularity, at The RCA (2017), Bookness: 14 Observations as part of the Books and The Human events at CSM (2015), The Function of Folk at The Ethnographic Museum in Krakow (2013), and Jiggling Atoms, at The Rag Factory (2012).