Beyond Anthropomorphism Symposium

International Symposium

The University of Sydney

Beyond anthropomorphism: Rethinking human-machine relations in robotics and A.I.

Tuesday June 11 and Wednesday June 12

The Beyond Anthropomorphism symposium challenges the popular expectation that the perfect future robot will be indistinguishable from, or superior to humans, or that humans will be perfectible through technology. Drawing on the latest research in engineering, social sciences and humanities, this event will evaluate the current state-of-the art against these fantastic visions. AI, robotics and social robotics were founded on the metaphors of the thinker, the labourer and, most recently, the companion. This symposium will explore where these metaphors are productive, and where they are misleading to provide a more grounded understanding of the likely futures for these exciting and terrifying technologies.

This symposium is organised by the University of Sydney Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems SIRIS (previously Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems), in collaboration with the Sociotechnical Futures Lab (STuF) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the University of Sydney Business School.

*This program is a draft and it is current at the time of publishing. Further changes and updates will follow.

Download Symposium Program

Tuesday 11 June 2019

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Co-hosted by Sydney Ideas at SSB Lecture Theatre 200 Social Sciences Building

6pm: Opening by Ian Manchester, Associate Director, Sydney Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (previously Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems)

Chair: Naoko Abe & Chris Chesher

6.10pm: Minoru Asada (Osaka University, Japan)

6.30pm: Raya Jones (Cardiff University, UK)

6.50pm: Discussion and Q&A

7.30pm: End of Day 1

Wednesday 12 June 2019

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Lecture Theatre 1130 Abercrombie Business School Building

9am: Registration

SESSION 1

9.30am: Laurence Devillers (Sorbonne University/CNRS, France)

Bad nudge Bad robot: ethical issues

Chair: Naoko Abe

10.20: Coffee Break

SESSION 2

Chair: Kai Riemer

10.40am: Mike Seymour (University of Sydney, Australia)

The Arms Race of Faces: AI, Agency and Identity

11.10am: Chris Chesher & Fiona Andreallo (University of Sydney, Australia)

Eye, vision and gaze in science fiction and social robotics

11.40am: Katsumi Watanabe (Waseda University, Japan, University of New South Wales, Australia)

Agency, experience, and social interactions in cognitive scientific views

12.10pm: Lunch

SESSION 3

Chair: Justine Humphry

1.10pm: Naoko Abe (University of Sydney, Australia)

Generating anthropomorphic motion and sociological perspective

1.40pm: Simon Coghlan, Lucy Sparrow, Martin Gibbs, Jenny Waycott (University of Melbourne, Australia)

The human touch: Ethical dimensions of care robots made “in our image”

2.10pm: Yolande Strengers (Monash University, Australia) & Jenny Kennedy (RMIT University, Australia)

Turn me on, turn me off

2.20pm Coffee Break

SESSION 4

Chair: Jolynna Sinanan

2.40pm: Yuji Sone (Macquarie University, Australia)

Hiroshi Ishiguro’s android science: The fabulation of “upstream engagement” and entertainment

3.10pm: Jason Tuckwell (Western Sydney University, Australia)

Technē, agency and computation

3.30pm: Ed Santow (Australian Human Rights Commission, Australia)

Of AI, horses and jockeys: Re-negotiating our relationship with machines in the era of AI

4pm: Toby Walsh (University of New South Wales, Australia)

Artificial and Natural Minds

4.30pm Break

SESSION 5

Chair: Chris Chesher

4.40pm: Panel discussion

5.40: End of Day 2


Automated Decision Making and Society – Julian Thomas

Friday 15 March, 2019, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

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

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Digital media industries are at the head of a new wave of automation, driven by an expanding array of intelligent technologies, from deep learning to blockchains. Automation promises great benefits, but concerns abound over the prospects of industry disruption, increasing inequality, declining productivity, and diminishing economic security. With the rapid expansion of automated decision making, new risks to human rights and welfare are emerging. This talk reviews current developments in automation, and considers the ways in which researchers in media studies may contribute to the emergence of ethical, responsible and inclusive automation.

Julian Thomas is Professor of Media and Communications at RMIT University. He leads the Technology, Communications and Policy Lab in RMIT’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre. Julian’s recent publications include Internet on the Outstation (INC, 2016), Measuring the Digital Divide (2016, 2017, 2018), The Informal Media Economy (Polity, 2015), and Fashioning Intellectual Property (Cambridge UP, 2012). He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities, and is actively involved in a wide range of consumer, research and policy organisations in the technology and communications sectors.

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.