Computing the Human
October 26 – 28, 2023
Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic (on site and online)
Keywords: computing human, more-than-human societies, emotion computing, human-machine interfaces, robots, synthetic life, subjectivity, neurodiversity
“…the essential emptiness designating the personage for whom the representation exists… and who yet is not present in person—this is “the king’s place.”Gilles Deleuze
“I often tell my students not to be misled by the name “artificial intelligence”—there is nothing artificial about it. AI is made by humans, intended to behave by humans, and, ultimately, to impact humans’ lives and human society.”Fei-Fei Li
We are currently witnessing a technological acceleration in the form of a boom in computing, particularly artificial intelligence, as an analytical and generative tool producing an impressive amount of synthetized knowledge and creative outcomes. Scholars and the general public are calling for s consent on a new shared episteme and a new definition of subjectivity (authorship) and creative gesture (expression) at a time when the “image of human” in the mirror of contemporary technology has acquired the monstrous form of a heterogeneous assemblage, the result of “applied statistics and combinatorics” (a definition of AI). This monster was described by Benjamin Bratton:
“Seeing ourselves through the “eyes” of this machinic Other who does not and cannot have an affective sense of aesthetics is a kind of disenchantment. We are just stuff in the world for “distributed machine cognition” to look at and to make sense of. (…) This uncomfortable recognition in the machine’s mirror is a kind of “reverse uncanny valley.” Instead of being creeped out at how slightly inhuman the creature in the image appears, we are creeped out at how un-human we ourselves look through the creature’s eyes.”Benjamin Bratton, 2022
Scientists are investigating how to teach machines to recognize and display emotions and how to help humans with emotional insecurities. Designers have focused on developing a believable human-machine interface that supports emotionally satisfying and adequate interaction. Artists are discovering the potential of intelligent machines to expand the spectrum of the visible and expressible. However, the discussion around the development of technology and computing is caught in a trap of complexity and paradoxes – singularity vs. techno diversity, the narrative of the emancipation of non-human actors vs. AI for humans, and the call for building human-centered ethical frameworks for these new phenomena.
The aim of the conference is to open a discussion on the topic of “computing the human.” It is intended as a “melting pot” for interdisciplinary debate reflecting the complexity of the issues: cultural history of computing, human-computer interaction (HCI), and emotion programming, all framed by the ethos of diversity and inclusion in computing and artificial intelligence. Contributions are welcomed that focus on the ideas, analyses, and technologies that materialize the visions in various time-spaces, including laboratories, artistic performances and exhibitions, archives, digital spaces, the imagination of more-than-human worlds, artificial bodies and computed emotions, ethical dilemmas and statements, and regulations. We would like to discuss concrete research cases, fieldwork, projects, and analyses.
Based on encounters with philosophy, anthropology, science and technology studies (STS), art, and tech sciences, we meet to bring together various views on questions such as:
- How are knowledge and cultural imagination about human subjectivity and emotions enacted and mobilized within computing technologies?
- How are particular emotional algorithms, artificial bodies, and emotion sensors computed and designed? How are they related and embedded in cultural norms and expectations?
- How are different notions of more-than-human sociality and empathy embodied, gendered, culturally situated, bio-politically de-contextualized, and re-programmed?
- Which kinds of utopias, spaces of hope and hype, visions, and innovations are we facing and creating today in the context of human-robot interaction (HRI) technologies?
- Are human rights, the figure of “Anthropos,” kind of utopian project then?
We look forward to your contribution!
To submit your abstract, please use the abstract submission form:
(Please send abstract of approximately 200 words, no later than September 20th.)
To register for the conference, please use the registration form:
Conference e-mail adress: