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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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