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Centre for Music and Science

 

Tacit Engagement in the Digital Age (TEDA) 2024 continues the discussion from the 2019 conference that was co-hosted by the Centre for Music and Science and CRASSH Re-Network and international Polanyi Society, sponsored by the AI & Society Journal (Springer). The 2024 conference will take place in Cambridge over 2 days on 19th and 20th September and is a collaboration between the AI&Society Journal and the Centre for Music and Science, University of Cambridge. Four years on from the discussions at TEDA’19 at Cambridge, further developments in AI agency as seen in ChatGPTs, LLMs and social media platforms, show both potentials and limitations for their benefits to society. We have reached a crossroads in our relations and conceptions of machines and the impacts this is having on us as social and creative beings and on our environment.

Does AI have agency?
What is the human agency in AI?
Where is AI agency in human life?
What is the relation between the idea of agency and the idea of interaction?
How do we re-balance the relationship between humanity and the machine?
Are we facing a new ‘normal’? Judgement to calculation, from comprehension to competence.

In contrast to how we anthropomorphised the automaton in the past, we anthropomorphise the ‘interactions’ we have with and via AI tools and robots ascribing to them intelligence, sense-making, and emotion. We may be unknowingly reconfiguring ourselves to fit the AI tools that are promoted to fit to us. We see the consequences of this in society at large, for example, in how our engagement with social media is creating fractures in our societies as AI algorithms are making it hard for us to hear (listen to) and move with expressions of difference, polyvalence.

The dream of automated thinking machines, during the 1980s and 1990s saw a mission to extract tacit knowledge (the knowledge of how to perform skillfully, make judgements, and make decisions) out of the ‘heads’ of ‘experts’ and make it into data for autonomous machine processing. Tacit knowledge was re-framed as a ‘bottleneck’ to be overcome. Data mining of humans, and increasingly of animals, has since been applied to human gesture, behaviour, emotion, bio-medical aspects, and creativity.

Looking back, part of the problem is that tacit knowledge has long been considered as lying within the individual (e.g. a composer, a pyschotherapist, a mathematician, a bank manager, etc.), rather than as lying in our engagement with others in world, in rhythm, in dialogue, in culture.
Calls for greater transparency and visibility of the workings of the ‘black’ or ‘magic’ box of algorithms may themselves not resolve the issues we are facing. What is meant by this, to whom, for whom, and to what purpose? In the magic of Japanese Bunraku Puppet Theatre, the puppet masters and the puppets are all fully transparent to our view, yet we find ourselves attending to the puppets who become visible to us as characters whilst we simultaneously render their puppet masters ‘invisible’.

What is needed is values for critical thinking, a diversity of cultural perspectives, and practices, from across the arts and sciences to shape our AI futures, overcome the belief in the magic machine, and design policies for common good. The arts and humanities are vital in this envisioning to address the dilemmas facing society arising from the civilian deployment of AI technology on governance, safety, reliability, control, social inclusion, cultural identity, ethics, justice, fairness, creativity, and wellbeing.

Most fundamentally, we ask, how is the shift from personalization to personification of algorithmic technologies affecting our social ability to navigate indeterminacy- that which cannot be modelled in advance, and deal with that which is not represented, with the tacit, or the excluded.

Indicative Themes:
Well-being : self-reflection vs social mediation vs hapticality – feeling the world through others Creativity: Individual— Collective / ensemble
Political economy and Social impacts
Augment vs Automate ?
Embodiment and corporeal engagement
Immersive technology and virtual worlds
Aesthetization of the artificial
Neuroscience and collective action, intention, experience Ethical governance
Culture of the artificial
Dialogue and Certainty
Representing vs Modelling vs Enacting

We welcome contributions from academics and practitioners across the fields of the arts, social sciences, humanities, healthcare, sciences, and technology to reflect on this discussion and explore ways forward. Rather than transient phenomena or technicalities that may likely be overtaken in due time by engineering or private sector developments, we call attention to concerns that will remain sharp or essential in any case.

Accepted contributions will be part of a special issue of the AI&Society Journal, with Guest Co-Editors Satinder Gill and Sha Xin-Wei.

Deadlines:
Monday 15 July 2024 - Submission of extended abstracts (max 1K words) Wednesday 17 July 2024 – Confirmation of accepted abstracts
Friday 19 July – Confirmed Conference Programme
Friday 19 July - Registration Open

Submissions to be made to: Satinder Gill - spg12@cam.ac.uk and Xi Zhang -xz349@cam.ac.uk

For queries, contact: Satinder Gill- spg12@cam.ac.uk
Co-organisers:
Satinder P Gill - Centre for Music and Science, University of Cambridge, and AI & Society Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Communication (Springer)
Xi Zhang - Centre for Music and Science, University of Cambridge

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