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Artificial companions: Fantasies, imaginaries and play

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Artificial companions: Fantasies, Imaginaries and Play

Online only (zoom)

Half day event 1-5pm EST/12-4pm JST

September 13th, 2023

Artificial companions are deeply embedded in our cultural imaginaries and practical realities.  The way we create, design and foster companionships through and with the machine is an innately human process. Robots, bots and artificial intelligence form an active part of our collective and personal self, often representing a form of automated play and companionship. In this symposium we explore the role of design, sociality, culture and belonging in the creation of AI companions. We move beyond the lens of language and harms to consider the relational aspects of AI and how meaning-making and connections are formed within communities. AI companions can be a reflection of the past, the present or a form of future fantasy, and together we invite you to consider their diverse potential in our more than human landscape. 

In this symposium we consider:

What role does imagination and play have in facilitating connections between AI and human?

How does cultural and media literacies inform the design and relationships formed with AI?

What fantasies of the future does AI companionship represent? 

What are the experiences and social lives of AI from a more than human perspective? 

How can we centre accounts of technologies developed in different countries that is respectful and doesn’t play into orientalist discourses? 

How does intersectionality inform the relationships formed with the more than human? 

How can vulnerable populations and their specific needs be centered in the development and evaluation of this technology?

What cultural attitudes towards gender and the animal are reflected in AI companions?


Animating a Robot: Interaction, Play, and Popular Cultural Context

Dr Keiko Nishimura, Sophia University

Panel Presentations: 

Early Japanese Experiments in Living with Characters: Encountering Limits to Gendered Imagination and Empowering Diversity

Assoc Prof Patrick W Galbraith, Senshū University

Communing with the Parahuman: Gender, Presence and Persona in Techno-Science

Dr Elena Knox, Waseda University

Future/Pets: Creepy-Cute Hybridities in the More-than-Human

Dr Megan Catherine Rose, UNSW Sydney

Play: the Human, Digital and the Automated

Dominique Carlon, Queensland University of Technology

Clara Julia Reich, Oslo Metropolitan University

Dejan Tatić, Vienna University of Economics and Business

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