On the Grand Narrative of Media and Mass Communication Research

Wednesday 20 May, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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In May 2020 the new, updated 7th edition of the seminal handbook McQuail’s Media and Mass Communication Theory will be published. The new edition of Denis McQuail’s (1935-2017) book opens up a debate on integrating, diversifying and globalizing the field of media studies and (mass) communication research.

For this 7th edition, Denis McQuail worked with Mark Deuze until his passing on the outline and structure of the book, after which Mark proceeded with carefully editing, updating and extending the text.

New to this edition:

  • A focus on reconceptualizing ‘mass’ media and communication and media theory in an age of big data, algorithmic culture, AI, platformization, streaming services, and mass self-communication.
  • Further discussion of the ethics of media and mass communication research.
  • Inclusion of a diverse and global range of voices, histories and examples from across the field, fully integrating social scientific and humanities-based perspectives and approaches.
  • More detailed attention to the way media industries work and what it is like to produce media professionally.
  • New and revised material, including a new chapter “A Canon of Media Effects”, helping the reader to rethink and reframe the whole idea of media effects and influence.

Mark Deuze is a Professor at the University of Amsterdam. From 2004 to 2013 he worked at Indiana University’s Department of Telecommunications in Bloomington, United States. Publications of his work include over ninety papers in academic journals and books. Deuze’s work has been translated in Chinese, Czech, German, Portuguese, Greek, and Hungarian. He holds a honorary appointment as a Visiting Professor at the University of Technology Sydney (2019-2023), has received a Donald W. Reynolds Fellowship from the Missouri School of Journalism (2015), a visiting Research Fellowship at the Center for International Communications Research of Leeds University (2007), and a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (2003). Weblog: deuze.blogspot.com. E-mail: mdeuze@uva.nl. Mark is also the bass player and singer of Skinflower (new recordings out in April 2020).

Darwin’s Animoji: Histories of Animation and Racism in Facial Recognition – Luke Stark, Microsoft Research

Thursday 10 October, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

New Law School Annexe SR 440, University of Sydney

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Facial recognition systems are increasingly common components of smartphones and other consumer digital devices. These technologies enable animated video-sharing applications, such as Apple’s animoji and memoji, Facebook Messenger’s masks and filters and Samsung’s AR Emoji. Such animations serve as technical phenomena translating moments of affective and emotional expression into mediated, trackable, and socially legible forms across a variety of social media platforms.

Through technical and historical analysis of these digital artifacts, the talk will explore the ways facial recognition systems classify and categorize racial identities in human faces in relation to emotional expression. Drawing on the longer history of discredited pseudosciences such as phrenology, the paper considers the dangers of both racializing logics as part of these systems of classification, and of how social media data regarding emotional expression gathered through these systems can be used to reinforce systems of oppression and discrimination.

Luke Stark is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Fairness, Accountability, Transparency and Ethics (FATE) Group at Microsoft Research Montreal. His scholarship examines the history and contemporary societal impacts of AI and other digital media facilitating for social and emotional interaction. His work has been published in venues including Social Studies of Science, Media Culture and Society, History of the Human Sciences, and The International Journal of Communication. He has previously been a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Dartmouth College, a Fellow and Affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and an inaugural Fellow with the University of California Berkeley’s Center for Technology, Society, and Policy. He holds a PhD from the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and an Honours BA and MA in History from the University of Toronto.

AI and ethics: Why all the fuss? Toby Walsh (University of New South Wales)

Wednesday 28 August, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

John Woolley Common Room, N480, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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There’s a lot of discussion in many different fora about AI and Ethics. In this talk, Toby Walsh will attempt to identify what new issues AI brings to the table, as well as where AI requires us to address otherwise old issues. He will cover topics from driverless cars to Cambridge Analytica.

Toby Walsh is Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales and Data61. He was named by the Australian newspaper as one of the “rock stars” of Australia’s digital revolution. Professor Walsh is a strong advocate for limits to ensure AI is used to improve our lives. He has been a leading voice in the discussion about autonomous weapons (aka “killer robots”), speaking at the UN in New York and Geneva on the topic. He is a Fellow of the Australia Academy of Science and recipient of the NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Engineering and ICT. He appears regularly on TV and radio, and has authored two books on AI for a general audience, the most recent entitled 2062: The World that AI Made.

Digital Rights in an Age of Surveillance AI

Thursday, 7 March, 2019, 4.30pm – 6.00pm

Seminar 2.03, RD Watt Building (A04), University of Sydney

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Three leading researchers of artificial intelligence and its societal implications discuss how emerging AI technologies are affecting our digital rights, particularly in light of the increased use of machine learning in forms of surveillance and policing. In partnership with the Goethe Institute, the Department of Media and Communications welcomes you to this in-conversation event with:

Professor Melvin Chen(Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), is a philosopher of artificial intelligence and researcher in creative cognition research, ethics, metaethics and aesthetics. He is a member of the ‘AI for Humanity’ initiative, and is interested in the cross-cultural negotiation of issues such as the ethics and governance of AI, and the role of education in an AI-driven age.

Dr Theresa Züger (Humboldt University, Germany) is Head of the Office for the Third Engagement Report at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society and a researcher of digital forms of civil disobedience. In 2017, Theresa was a research fellow at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies with her project Polynocular Tech Lab. She is co-founder of Bridge Figures, an organisation countering xenophobia with digital strategies. She tweets @thezueger

Mr Karaitiana Taiuru (Christchurch, New Zealand) is a long-time advocate of digital Māori rights and a researcher of data sovereignty and digital colonialism, te reo Māori revitalisation with technology, Māori representation and intellectual property rights. His PhD research examines the ways in which genome sequencing technologies perpetuate institutional racism and racial stereotyping.