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[Commlist] Language Games cfp
Tue Apr 02 15:36:50 GMT 2019
Call for papers: Language Games: Conversations between human and machine
languages - Leonardo Electronic Almanac
Call for Papers:
Language Games: Conversations between human and machine languages
Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA)
Language Games is the title of a forthcoming issue with LEA edited by
Lanfranco Aceti, Sheena Calvert, and Hannah Lammin. We invite a range of
submissions initially in the form of abstract. The description of the
issue is below with all the related information for submission.
Language is a technology, as theorists including Martin Heidegger and
Marshall McLuhan have argued, and yet its manifestation in both speech
and writing is fundamentally human-centred: anthropological. However,
speech and writing are rapidly becoming an interface not just between
humans and the ‘out there’, as traditional philosophies of language
assert, but between humans and machines, and machines and other
machines. As a result, the usual presuppositions we might make about
language as a technology which is predicated on human utterance and
man-made material transcription is rapidly shifting, and in the process
the line between human and machine is becoming less clear.
Current developments in computing, and the rise of artificial
intelligence (AI), are bringing about a new perceptual transformation of
the technology called language, and offer us an opportunity to reflect
on what we value in language and how it continues to form (and inform)
our life-world. The mass availability of intelligent personal
assistants—such as Apple’s Siri, IBM’s Watson and Amazon’s Alexa, and
Google’s Duplex—has brought (and promises to further introduce) speaking
machines into everyday life for many people, and makes it clear that
such interfaces will be increasingly indistinguishable from human voice.
These emergent systems replicate the nuances, inflections, and
vernacular qualities of speech to a degree that has made many
commentators uncomfortable (invoking a linguistic/social version of
Masahiro Mori’s “Uncanny Valley”). Previous barriers to acceptance of
machine-produced language, such as lack of nuance, context, and the
subtleties of timing associated with human language are beginning to be
surpassed, such that the distinction between them dissolves.
This raises ethical questions about language, and its ongoing role in
human (and machine) interaction. These technologies also threaten to
replace large areas of voice-related employment, such as service
industry call centre roles, and so involve the implications of
automation more generally. In the fields of computer science and
technology there is already well-developed research producing systems
that are able to generate ever more “natural” linguistic fluency. Our
aim is to add another dimension to this research, by asserting the
importance of a dialogue between humanities/science/creative disciplines
in addressing the implications of speaking machines. If (as many claim),
language is of singular importance to the constitution of the human; the
migration of language to machines provides an opportunity for us to
interrogate the value of language at an ontological level.
Current research in the digital humanities and the philosophy of
technology considers a range of questions, including the nature of
human/machine intelligence, algorithmic agency, the narratives used to
contextualize AI in the broader social context, and the ethics of using
machines to mediate various aspects of our personal lives. Yet, the
complex relationship between language and intelligence that has
preoccupied philosophers since Aristotle has rarely been taken as a
central research theme in critical discussions of AI. This journal aims
to fill this gap by creating an interdisciplinary platform for
reflection on the implications of AI as a linguistic technology.
The goal of this issue is to bring together a range of
perspectives—including those from philosophy, linguistics, computer
sciences, digital humanities and the creative arts—in order to examine
in detail the particular role of language in creating the interface
between humans and AI/machine learning technologies. It will address
languages’ role in getting us to accept these technologies,
investigating how the creation of believable/convincing linguistic
parallels to human forms of language (via mimicry), invites us to engage
with machines as social beings, and builds trust in machine utterances
(written and spoken). By approaching computational technologies through
a linguistic lens we hope to establish that language needs to become a
central (not incidental) aspect of the discourses around the ethics of
AI and machine learning.
We invite submissions addressing questions including, but not limited to:
• What is the ontological status of language when it is no longer made
by humans, but by machines?
• How do the frameworks that ground our understanding of ethics need to
be rethought to account for the social effects of linguistic machines?
• What epistemological models do we need to understand the relationship
between ‘natural’ language and computer language/code?
• Do machinic languages require us to re-think the relationship between
language and cognition?
• Do computational systems have the agency for linguistic creativity,
and what poetic forms might emerge from them and/or our interaction with
• What new pragmatics of language arise from our interactions with
non-human linguistic agents?
• What methodologies—creative, philosophical, scientific—can we develop
to address these questions, and to communicate between disciplines?
Abstract: We ask you to submit an abstract of 250 words and 5 to 7
keywords, by April 30, 2019, to: (Hannah.lammin /at/ gre.ac.uk) and
(s.calvert /at/ csm.arts.ac.uk)
The Abstract should also contain:
your name, your address, your email,
your affiliation (university or other institution you work for/with).
We will review abstracts within three weeks and invited full essays
(5,000 words maximum, unless otherwise agreed with the editors) will be
due by July 30, 2019.
Final acceptance will be subject to peer review. Papers will be
published online as ready after September 30, 2019, and the final (full)
edition will be available for print, by December 1, 2019.
Abstract submission: April 30, 2019
Paper submission: July 30, 2019
Final papers: September 30, 2019
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