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Message posted on 21/10/2020

Call for Papers – Conference and Edited Volume: Artificial Intelligence and the Human – Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Science and Fiction

                *C A L L   F O R    P A P E R S*
*Conference and edited volume*

*Artificial **intelligence and the human – **Cross-**cultural perspectives
on science and fiction*

A Japanese-German conference in Berlin, Germany (17 and 18 June 2021) & e
dited volume (2022)

Current debates on artificial intelligence often conflate the realities of
AI technologies with the fictional renditions of what they might one day
become. They are said to be able to learn, make autonomous decisions or
process information much faster than humans, which raises hopes and fears
alike. What if these useful technologies will one day develop their own
intentions that run contrary to those of humans?

The line between science and fiction is becoming increasingly blurry: what
is already a fact, what is still only imagination; and is it even possible
to make this clear-cut distinction? Innovation and development goals in the
field of AI are inspired by popular culture, such as its portrayal in
literature, comics, film or television. At the same time, images of these
technologies drive discussions and set particular priorities in politics,
business, journalism, religion, civil society, ethics or research. Fictions,
potentials and scenarios inform a society about the hopes, risks, solutions
and expectations associated with new technologies. But what is more, the
discourses on AI, robots and intelligent, even sentient machines are
nothing short of a mirror of the human condition: they renew fundamental
questions on concepts such as consciousness, free will and autonomy or the
ways we humans think, act and feel.

Imaginations about the human and technologies are far from universal, they
are culturally specific. This is why a cross-cultural comparison is crucial
for better understanding the relationship between AI and the human and how
they are mutually constructed by uncovering those aspects that are regarded
as natural, normal or given. Focusing on concepts, representations and
from different cultures, the conference aims to address two axes of
comparison that help us make sense of the diverse realities of artificial
intelligence and the ideas of what is human: *Science and fiction, East
Asia and the West.*

*Papers are invited on the following topics (among others):*

   - Which meanings and functions are ascribed to AI technologies and
   - How is science informed by popular discursive images of AI?
   - Which cultural differences are there concerning the relationship
   between the natural and the artificial? What are the particular traditions
   of how to represent the human and its technological surrogates?
   - What can the different cultural and conceptual histories tell us about
   our present and future with artificial intelligence?

Besides papers on these more general topics, we also invite *case studies
on innovative technologies and their fictional precursors* as well as *on
the social, ethical or political contexts in which they are applied*. All
contributions are expected to address the *comparative perspective on East
Asian and Euro-American discourses.*

Relevant issues and perspectives for these comparisons include but are not
limited to cyberpunk and science-fiction in literature and film, public
debates and imaginations of AI, the relation between simulation and
reality, materiality, historical and legal accounts, sociotechnical
imaginaries and politics.

We welcome contributions from scholars of diverse disciplines, such as
cognitive science, computer science, cultural studies, literature and film
studies, media and communication studies, psychology, political science,
science and technology studies or sociology. Interdisciplinary approaches
(e.g., those combining social, cultural and technical perspectives) as well
as perspectives from practitioners and developers are particularly

*Submission process*

   - *Extended abstracts* of approximately 4,000 to 6,000 characters in
   length (excl. references) should be submitted no later than *10 February*
    *2021* to
   - Speakers will be notified by *15 March* *2021*.

*Conference and publication of selected papers in an edited volume *

   - The conference will take place on *Thursday* *17 and Friday 18 June
   2021* in Berlin.
   - Invitations for the submission of selected full manuscripts sent out
   in July 2021.
   - *Full manuscripts* of between 30.000 to 50.000 characters (excluding
   references) to be submitted by *September 2021*.
   - Comprehensive review returned to authors in December 2021; *final
   papers due in February 2022.*
   - The *edited volume* will be *published in early 2022*.

If you have any questions, you can contact the conference organisers via

For more information, visit our website at

*Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin*

Thomas Christian Bächle
Christian Katzenbach

*Japanese-German Center Berlin*

Phoebe Stella Holdgrün

*Waseda University, Tokyo*

Katsumi Watanabe

 Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und 
Gesellschaft gGmbH 
Französische Straße 9 · 10117 Berlin 
T +49 30 200 760 
82 · F +49 30 206 089 60 ·  


Gesellschaftssitz Berlin | 
Amtsgericht Berlin Charlottenburg | HRB 140911B |  USt-ID DE  291
151 171
Forschungsdirektorium: Prof. Dr. Jeanette Hofmann (Geschäftsführung) 
Prof. Dr. Björn Scheuermann · Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Schildhauer ·
 Prof. Dr. 
Wolfgang Schulz  |  Geschäftsführung: Dr. Karina Preiß
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