Panel Discussion: Design ethics and the age of conversational systems

Friday 9 November 2018 3:30-5.00pm
Social Sciences Building – Lecture Theatre 200
As AI disrupts more human activities, practitioners, academics and the public are increasingly asking about the impact it will have on society. Without doubt an area of great impact is human communication. In this panel we will discuss advances in computer based conversational systems: avatars and chatbots, and how they may change the way we communicate. The panel members are world leaders on digital rights, conversational systems, avatars, human communication and AI ethics.

Panelists

Rafael A. Calvo is Professor at the University of Sydney, ARC Future Fellow and Director of the Software Engineering Group that focuses on the design of systems that support wellbeing in areas of mental health, medicine and education.

Jean-Claude Martin is Professor of Computer Science at Université Paris Sud, France whose research whose research is focused upon virtual coaches, personality and emotions.

Nick Enfield is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Sydney and Director of the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC) interested in human to human communication and the possible impact of conversational agents.

Virginia Dignum is Professor at the Department of Computer Science, Umeå University, Sweden. She is director of the Center for Responsible AI, a research institute dedicated to the study and development of AI systems that meet their social responsibility.

Moderator

Gerard Goggin is the inaugural Professor of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney interested in the social, cultural, and political aspects of digital technologies, especially the Internet and mobile media and communication, and disability and accessibility. He co-leads the Our Machines, Our Selves Dean’s Initiative with Professor Heather Horst.

 

Climate Change and the Media: Discussion and Book Launch

Monday 5 November 2018

Discussion: 5.00pm – 6.30pm, Law School Foyer, New Law School, followed by Book Launch: 6.30pm – 8.00pm, Law Lounge, Level 1, New Law School

RSVP via Eventbrite

Presented by Sydney Environment Institute in partnership with the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney

Over the last twenty five years the weight of evidence about the causes and consequences of climate change has become compelling. The solutions are fairly simple—we must switch to more sustainable and efficient forms of energy production. And yet they remain elusive—globally we produce significantly more greenhouse gases now than we did back in 1990. The sad truth is that this inaction has made climate change inevitable—the only question that remains is whether we can prevent it spiralling out of control.

How do we explain this colossal global failure? The problem is political rather than scientific: we know the risks and we know how to address them, but we lack the political will to do so. The media are pivotal in this equation: they have the power to set the public and the political agenda.

Join an international panel of experts for the Sydney launch of Climate Change and the Mediaedited by Benedetta Brevini and Justin Lewis. The panel will discuss the key themes addressed in book, exploring how and why media coverage has fallen short in communicating both science and the politics of climate change.

Speakers

Peter Hannam, Environment Editor, Sydney Morning Herald
Professor Justin Lewis, University of Cardiff
Dr Alana Mann, Department of Media and Communications
Dr Terry Woronov, Department of Anthropology

Chair

Dr Benedetta Brevini, Department of Media and Communications

Political Participation on Social, Civic and Computer Networks – Francesco Bailo

Friday 12 October 2018, 3.00-4.30pm

MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20

RSVP via Eventbrite

As political participation and organisation move online, the nature of the networks that sustain them changes. In this talk I will discuss my research into the Internet-mediated project of the Five Star Movement, an Italian political movement born out of a blog and that today controls the Italian government and more than one-third of Parliament. How could a political movement emerge from the Internet and only with the resources offered by the Internet become the dominant political force in a country?

In providing my answer to this question, I will reflect on the emerging political relevance of what I call the Citizen User: a new political identity defined by a sense of political disempowerment coupled with the intensive use of empowering Internet services. Based on the electoral results from the last two general elections and from the online activity of tens of thousands of users on Facebook and Meetup.com, I will provide insights into the territorial determinants of the electoral success of the Movement and reflect on the changing role of existing social and civil networks in fostering new forms political mobilisation in the age of the computer networks.

Francesco Bailo is Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Media Methods in the Department of Media and Communications (University of Sydney). Francesco obtained his PhD from the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney in 2017. His PhD thesis investigates the impacts of online talk and social-networking sites on political participation and organisations. He is interested in digital methods and particularly in the applications of network analysis and quantitative text analysis.

This changes everything! What “the digital” means for the purposes and practices of education

This changes everything! What “the digital” means for the purposes and practices of education

Friday September 21, 3pm – 4.30

John Woolley Common Room, N480, John Woolley Building, A20

University of Sydney

RSVP via Eventbrite

Schools and education systems are caught in the headlights of the digital era. Just as John Dewey formulated the principles of education for democracy in the context of violent industrialisation, rapid urbanisation and unprecedented social change in a new and emerging nation, so the global effects of computerisation and the digital are going to transform the wider purposes of education in both liberal democratic and authoritarian societies. This talk will open up debates around: the changing function and practices of school itself; the wider purposes of digital literacy; changing nature of civic participation in an increasingly digitalised and datafied society; and the limits of the discipline of Education as principles and practices buckle and strain in an increasingly competitive and unfair world.

Bio: Julian Sefton-Green is Professor of New Media Education at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. He has worked as an independent scholar and has held positions at the Department of Media & Communication, London School of Economics & Political Science and at the University of Oslo working on projects exploring learning and learner identity across formal and informal domains. He has been an Honorary Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham, UK and the Institute of Education, Hong Kong and he is now a Visiting Professor at The Playful Learning Centre, University of Helsinki, Finland.

He has been the Head of Media Arts and Education at WAC Performing Arts and Media College – a centre for informal training and education – where he directed a range of digital media activities for young people and co-ordinated training for media artists and teachers. Prior to that he worked as Media Studies teacher in an inner city comprehensive London; and in higher education teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses, leading teacher training degrees in media education.

He has researched and written widely on many aspects of media education, new technologies, creativity, digital cultures and informal learning and has authored, co-authored or edited 14 books. Recent volumes include The Class: living and learning in the digital age (New York University Press, 2016)Learning Identities, Education and Community: young lives in the cosmopolitan city (Cambridge University Press 2016) and Learning beyond the School: international perspectives on the schooled society (Routledge, 2018)He has directed research projects for the Arts Council of England, the British Film Institute, the London Development Agency, Creative Partnerships and Nominet Trust and has spoken at over 40 conferences in 20 countries.

Life in Antarctica: mediations, speculations, ethnographies – Juan Francisco Salazar

Friday September 14, 3pm – 4.30

John Woolley Common Room, N480

John Woolley Building, A20

University of Sydney

RSVP via Eventbrite

In recent years, the Antarctic has become a fitting space for anthropological analysis and ethnographic research as human activities intensify and human populations increasingly make themselves at home in Antarctica. These processes demand a deepening of inquiry into what kinds of socialities, subjectivities, material cultures, affects, and cultural practices are emerging there. As one of the most mediated places on Earth, Antarctica shapes the future of the planet in unexpected ways. It is not only a unique laboratory for science, but an exceptional laboratory for thinking about futures on and off Earth. Informed by ethnographic work in the Antarctic Peninsula and the production of a series of media projects, including digital storytelling, a feature-length documentary film, and an online game, this paper explores world-making processes through which extreme environments are made habitable and through which Antarctic gateway cities develop novel urban imaginaries of connection to Antarctica.

Bio: Juan Francisco Salazar is an Associate Professor in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, and Research Director of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) at Western Sydney University. As an anthropologist, communication specialist and filmmaker, his academic and creative work is concerned with the coupled dynamics of socio-environmental change. He has worked with a range of communities in Chile, Colombia, central Australia, Cambodia, Vanuatu and Antarctica. His latest book is the co-edited volumeAnthropology and Futures: Researching Emerging and Uncertain Worlds (Bloomsbury, 2017) and his latest film is the award-winning documentary Nightfall on Gaia (2015). He is currently leading the Australian Research Council Linkage Project Antarctic Cities and the Global Commons: Rethinking the Gateways (2017-2020) and finishing a new feature length documentary film titled The Bamboo Bridge.