Message posted on 06/11/2023

CfP: Speculative Technologies - Technology and Language

                The first dozen is full - the 12th issue of "Technology and Language" 
has appeared, and with it a new call that invites contributions at the 
intersection of the history and philosophy of technology, speculative 
metaphysics, and cultural studies.

The authors of the current issue were invited to consider 
writing-the-future along with the future-of-writing. Juliane Henrich and 
Siegfried Zielinski discuss how future writing can have a past, with 
romantic philosopher-poet Novalis imagining a new language that allows 
us today to envision data-mining through the lens of copper-mining. 
Wenzel Mehnert and Stefan Gammel show how science fiction and utopian 
texts as well as visionary programs for emerging technologies develop 
strategies of questioning the present by positing an ontologically 
discontinuous future. Writing and the memory of the hand are becoming 
obsolete by way of typing and other technical proxies. Questions of 
enactment and embodiment in the digital world are complemented by a 
presentation of shibari as a technology and art of writing. Guest edited 
by YAO Dajuin and LIN Nikita, this special issue originated at the Open 
Media Lab of the Chinese Academy of Arts.

New Call for Contributions:

„Speculative Technologies“ (deadline: July 5, 2024), guest editors: Anna 
Kotomina and Colin Milburn. It is a distinctive feature of human 
language that we can refer to things that aren't there - to events in 
the future or the past and even to things that wiill never exist. Does 
this hold for technology as well? Can machines and other technical 
schemes refer to impossibilities? Can they invite us to engage in 
hypothetical thinking about alternate worlds? And where do they come 
from, what is the cultural or socio-technical milieu for their 
conception? Astronomical clocks invoke ideas of the cosmic order, a 
perpetuum mobile reflects the human ambition to conquer physical limits, 
von Kempelen’s chess player challenges humans to question human and 
machine intelligence, prototypes herald an imagined future, envisioned 
carbon reduction technologies enter into calculations of climate futures 
- and a machine that is standing still holds the secret to that machine 
in motion. There is a long tradition of wish-fullfilment machines 
(quantum computers, fusion reactors), and a long tradition of difference 
engines with different settings for various contingencies. We invite 
historical reconstructions, philosophical reflections, and cultural 
technology assessments on this range of subjects.

Other open calls (shortened):

“Computational Models and Metaphors of the Mind” (inquire about upcoming 
deadline) Is the meaning of a text accessible to machine learning? 
Questions like these have become ever more puzzling. Mind, behavior, and 
machine are configured differently at different times, in different 
research programs. This concerns questions of intelligence, technology, 
and language: What is consciousness, is it possible to artificially 
reproduce it? What is a language in terms of information theory and data 
models? Can a language be expressive without ontology or semantics? How 
significant are shared features of brains and computers – e.g. neural 
networks, and how significant are the differences between human and 
machine intelligence – e.g. conceptual vs. statistical thinking? (guest 
editor: Pavel Baryshnikov)

„Hermeneutics of Technology“ (Deadline: January 8, 2024) For a long 
time, hermeneutics was confined to the humanities and arts, to legal and 
religious studies, and to the exegesis primarily of texts. In recent 
years, however, the hermeneutics of science and technology came into its 
own, along with questions of „scientific understanding“ or „hermeneutic 
Technology Assessment,“ and along with the challenges posed by 
Artificial Intelligence or quantum technology which appear to elude 
human comprehension. Sense-making becomes especially important in a 
so-called culture of prediction, robustness, and reliability - with 
hermeneutics a critical method for analyzing and evaluating the various 
ways of making sense. (guest editors: WU Guolin and LUO Dong)

„ChatGPT and the Voices of Reason, Responsibility, and Regulation“ 
(Deadline: March 5, 2024) — ChatGPT reconfigures the public sphere. It 
brings to a head the question: Must we mean what we say? How to take 
responsibility for artificially produced text - and how in different 
technopolitical traditions to regulate it. The special issue seeks to 
highlight three aspects: 1) Large language models (LLMs) and the culture 
of dialogue in the context of human-machine interaction. Will a new way 
of asking questions bring us into a new world of thinking? 2) „Garbage 
in, garbage out“ - training effects, re-enforcement learning, 
transparency and the problems of an open or closed society. 3) Legal 
regulation of ChatGPT in various sociocultural contexts, technical and 
technocratic governance as societies confront the question of how an 
intelligence should behave and how it can be bound to the truth. (guest 
editors: Elena Seredkina, LIU Yongmou)

Beyond these calls for special topics, any submitted paper and 
interdisciplinary exploration at the interface of technology and 
language is always welcome. The next deadline for submitted papers in 
English or Russian is February 1, 2024.

Queries, suggestions, and submissions can be addressed to or to Daria Bylieva ( and Alfred 
Nordmann (

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