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Tacit Engagement in the Digital Age 2019

Tacit Engagement in the Digital Age, 26-28 June 2019

A joint conference by the 'Re-' Interdisciplinary Network (CRASSH) and the AI & Society Journal

Deadline for registration: Sunday 16 June 2019

A concept that has been at the fore of discussions around the sociology of scientific knowledge, the limits of AI, and most recently the design of 'collective intelligence', is 'tacit knowledge'. First coming to prominence in the 1960's, with Polanyi's The Tacit Dimension (1966), it is a concept that continues to be addressed by scholars and practitioners from a wide range of disciplinary and inter-disciplinary perspectives, and applied fields of practice. This conference explores the place of the tacit in the 21st Century, where our lives are increasingly augmented by AI algorithms.

Engagement with and through social media networks and mobile apps are re-shaping the notion of community and family, and affecting wellbeing, as well as the cultures of the workplace and institutions. The exponential rise of big data flows in networked communications causes vast gaps in translation, confusion about what is true and false, and mistrust of ‘experts’. In the shadows of machine thinking we are unable to engage with difference.

This challenges us to come up with technological futures rooted in us as persons, not as numbers, parts, sensory mechanisms, genes, and individual bodies.

  • What alternative models might allow humans to better engage with technology?
  • How can we reconsider the relation between a person and a collective intelligence?
  • How can we reconceive the self as interaction in a digital age?

Ideas of performance and re-performance help us reposition seemingly singular subjects and objects as collective phenomena, and help reconnect art and science after their separation in the 19th Century; but the arts in general can play a key role in questioning and reframing our understandings by directing attention to the tacit assumptions, norms, and expectations embedded in all cultural processes. 

There is a supposed neutrality around technology, evidenced in the idea that human ‘intelligence’ can, in the absence of ‘person’, be artificially re-presented, re-constructed and re-produced through computation (AI). The conference explores in what ways the interplay of the arts and sciences is re-conceiving augmentation and automation, and questions what an ‘intelligence’ that is ‘artificial’ might be.

The three days of the conference are being jointly hosted by CRASSH and the Music Faculty. The first two days (26th and 27th June) will be held at CRASSH (Alison Building SG1). The third day of this three day conference will be held in the Music Faculty (Recital Room). Two separate online registrations are required (CRASSH and Music Faculty).  

Registration cost for attendees and presenters for this third day is £25 and includes lunch, coffee, and refreshments.  The deadline for registration is Sunday 16 June 2019 subject to places being available. Online registration for the three days is now open. To register for the 26 & 27 June, please go to CRASSH. To register for 28 June 2019 please click HERE

Accommodation is not provided, but please check the following websites for some useful suggestions: meet-cambridge, Visit Cambridge, Cambridge rooms, University of Cambridge accomodations webpage.

Conference Programme on 26 - 28 June

(please note, programme is subject to change by conference leaders)


FIRST TWO DAYS - 26-27 June - REGISTRATION AT CRASSH (please follow links given above)


09:30-10:00   Registration

10:00-10:20   Welcome and Introduction 

Satinder Gill (University of Cambridge, Music, Re-Network, AI&Society)

10:20-11:15   Keynote

Chair: Ghislaine Boddington (Body>Data>Space, Women shift digital, University of Greenwich, London)

Geoff Mulgan (CEO National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts)

How can collective intelligence orchestrate tacit knowledge of different kinds?

11.15-11:30  TEA BREAK

11:30-13:00   Roundtable  Social Media: from embodied to iterative publics

Chair:  Bill Thompson (BBC R&D)

Tony D Sampson (University of East London) - The subjectless shared experiences of lookalike audiences

Simone Shu-Yeng Chung, Mary Ann Ng (National University of Singapore) - Engagements across a multiplicity of Millennial identities

Francesco Garibaldi, Emilio Rebecchi (Bologna University) - If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell

Clare Foster (Founder, Re-Network, University of Cambridge) - Behavioural science on digital public space

13:00-14:00   LUNCH

14:00-15:30   Roundtable    Self as Interaction  

Chair: Satinder Gill

David Good (University of Cambridge, Psychology) - The life between us: variations in the medium of exchange and their impact on the formation of self

Hatice Gunnes (University of Cambridge, Computer Science) - Affect and personality in humans and robots

Ian Cross (University of Cambridge, Music) - Music and the human communicative toolkit

15:30-15:45   TEA BREAK

15:45-17:15   Roundtable   Self as Interaction in the Digital Age

Chair: Ian Cross (Cambridge Univserity, Music)

Kriszta Sajber (Misericordia University, USA, Philosophy) - The expressivity of virtual selves

Rebekah Wilson (Independent Researcher, Interactive media design, Amsterdam) - Strengthening the networked music performance experience with machine learning

Walter Gulick (Montana State University, Billings, USA, philosophy) - Personal meaning versus robotic behaviours

Jin Hyun Kim (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, Music) - Our self and the world enhanced by music's mediating relations

17:15-17:20   REFRESH BREAK

17:20-18:00   Performance Talk(s)/workshop(s)

Ghislaine Boddington (Body>Data>Space, Women shift digital, University of Greenwich, London)

Internet of bodies: exploring the future human and collective engagement scenarios

18:00-18:45   RECEPTION (Sponsored by AI & Society Journal)



9:00-10:30   Roundtable    Intelligences: models

Chair: Victoria Vesna

Dietrich Brandt (RWTH Aachen, Germany) - Enlightenment: the past, the present, and our futures

Peter Brodner (Siegen, Germany) - Tensions for skilled workers co-acting with complex multi-agent systems

Kathleen Richardson (Leicester DeMontford) - Property relations: from companion robots and AI to sex robots

Stephen Cave (Centre for the Future of Intelligence CFI, University of Cambridge) - Intelligence as ideology: its history and future

10:30-10:45   TEA BREAK

10:45-12:15   Roundtable     Intelligences: indivisibles

Chair: Carl Rassmussen (University of Cambridge, Engineering, Machine Learning)

Jan Soffner (Zeppelin Universität) - The premises of the singularity hypothesis

Simon Taylor (University of New South Wales, Australia) - Dementia as a collective informant

Melvin Chen, Chew Lock Yue (Nanyan Technological University, Singapore) - Intelligence and the elements of causal reasoning

Edward Burnell (MIT, USA) - Hybrid intelligence: forming boundary objects between practitioners' knowledges and the mathematics of computation

12:15-12:20  REFRESH

12:20-12:45  Interactive Event/workshop

Maida Withers (Concoran School of Art and Design, USA) - Mindfluctuations

12:45-13:45   LUNCH

13:45-15:15   Roundtable    The Performance of Algorithms

Chair:   Louise Amoore (Durham University, Ethics and Algorithms)

Mihaly Heder (Budapest, Hungary, Philosophy) - Towards an epistemic transparency of algorithms 

Charles W Lowney (Hollins University, USA) - How the body solves problems: martial arts, tacit knowing, and AI

Vit Stritecky, Petr Spelda, Filip Vostal (Charles University Prague, Czech Republic) - Temporality and machine learning

Sonia de Jager (Erasmus University, Netherlands, Music & society) - Building boundless, reasonable machines

15:15-15:30   TEA BREAK

15:30-16:50   Keynotes    Social Milieus

Chair:  David Good (University of Cambridge)

Louise Amoore (Durham University)- Algorithms and the unattributable

Caroline Nevejan (Amsterdam University) - Urban Trust

16:50-17:00   REFRESH BREAK

17:00-18:30   Roundtable   Social Milieus

Chair:   David Smith

Andreas Schellewald (Edinburgh University) - The poetics of platforms: on audio-visual and algorithmic containment

Alessio Chierico (Kunstuniversitat Linz, Austria) - The vacuous identity in the digital realm

Marielle Pelissero (Paris-Nanterre University, France, performing arts) - Digital media, social networks, and live performance. Aesthetic sociality and/as new art practice

Cat Watts (University of Cambridge) - Griefers and gatekeepers: re-evaluating realtime gaming in the 21st Century.

19:00             CONFERENCE DINNER with a HOX ZODIAC TWIST (for speakers)


THIRD DAY - 28 JUNE - REGISTRATION AT MUSIC FACULTY - deadline Sunday 16th June - (please follow links given above)


08:30-09:00   Registration

09:00-10:20   Keynotes    Art as Science

Chair: Marleen Wynants (Brussels Free University, Belgium)

Victoria Vesna (Art|Sci UCLA, USA) - Animals are us: ecologies of 'other' minds

Vibeke Sorensen (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) - Art, technology, and the Internet of Living Things (IoLT)

10:20-10:35   TEA BREAK

10:35-11:30   Interactive Event(s)/workshop(s) 

Kwan Q Li (Oxford University) - Weedlist

Rachel Stroud and Margaret Faultlesss (Cambridge University, Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment) - Performing the orchestra

11.30-13:00   Roundtable    Tacit Engagement in Practice

Chair: Caroline Nevejan (University of South Wales)

Tania Fraga (University of Brasilia, Brazil) - Epicurus' garden: poetic and aesthetic considerations of an installation and performances with brain-computer interface

Jonathan Impett (Orpheus Institute, Belgium, Music) - Music, thought and intuitive technology

Marleen Wynants (Brussels Free University, Belgium) - SWAMPLAB

Marcelo Velasco et al. (Fundacion Arte + Ciencia, Chile) - Machine leaning and social good - a Chilean experience

Pam Burnard, Pallawi Sinha et al. (University of Cambridge, Education) - Re(con)figuring arts and mathematics using diffraction as a new materialist methodology for understanding enactments of interdisciplinarity


13:30-17:00   Parallel Workshop - Polanyi Society (Lecture Rm 1)

14:30-15:20   Keynote     Harry Collins

Intelligence is social. That's why deep learning is so good, but it's still not there

Chair: Richard Staley (University of Cambridge, History and Philosophy of Science)

15:20-15:35  TEA BREAK

15:35-17:05   Roundtable    Representing the Social

Chair: Clare Foster

Veronique Chance (Anglia Ruskin University, Fine art and print making) - Record, relay, represent: experiencing running as mediated performance

Massimo Negrotti (Urbino, Italy, sociology) - The reality of the artificial. From a dream to a paradox

David Harris Smith (McMaster University, Canada) - Cultural Robotics

Bill Thompson (BBC R&D) - Towards online engagement: rethinking the network to support human connections

17:05-17:45   Closing Panel Discussion and Q & A

17:45-18:30   RECEPTION (Sponsored by AI & Society Journal)