Cybiosis: Shaping Human-Technology Futures

The aim of our group is to discuss and to examine the development of new human-technology relations and imaginaries. The name of the circle, ‘Cybiosis’ (pl. cybioses), is a neologism, based on ‘cybernetic’, ‘symbiosis’, and ‘bio’, and it embodies the new technological modes of living that we aim to investigate in the circle.

As a speculative metaphor, the term ‘Cybiosis’ allows us to imagine mutually beneficial relationships between cybernetic systems and human life. This directs our research interests to the ambivalent co-relationship between systems of symbioses and inclusion, on the one hand, and technologies that serve to commodify life forms and extend the networks of control, on the other.

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION

Projective Philosophies: tools and theories for making futures

Summer Symposium: July 28th – August 4th 2019, Roosta Estonia

Update

As there is a limited amount of places available (due to accomodation available), we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Acceptance decisions will be given on a rolling first-come-first-serve basis, so that you can register as soon as possible. The same goes for grants and scholarships.

Invitation

We invite scholars, artists, students, technologists and other professionals working or writing on future technologies to take part in our study circle Cybioses: shaping human-technology futures, a migratory non-hierarchical group of international researchers. Our circle is developed within the Nordic and Baltic framework of Nordic Summer University (NSU).  Since its inception, the primary aim of NSU has been to provide a forum for experimentation and cross-disciplinary collaboration welcoming members both from within and outside of universities and other institutions.

The aim of the Cybioses circle is to bring together theorists, practitioners, and technologists. Together we want to discuss practices of making and the social and cultural impact of future technologies. How can philosophical questions support the development of technologies? How in turn can technological practices and development inform philosophical, aesthetic, and sociological theories? And how can both making and theorizing help us imagining future technologies and their impact on societies? Guided by these questions we want to develop a philosophy for makers and a better practice for philosophy.

Theme of the symposium

Our previous symposia investigated the role of improvisation in technological development and the ways in which creativity is understood by makers, designers, artists and theorists. For this symposium we kindly invite contributions that address the interactions between philosophy and the development, making, crafting or designing of technologies.

“A book of philosophy ought to be in part […] a kind of science fiction.” This famous quote by philosopher Gilles Deleuze points to the complex intertwinements of philosophy and renderings of the future. From its beginning, philosophy was concerned not only with describing what is, but also what could be. Plato’s ideal state or Leibniz’ crystal palace are only but two examples for this. This projective operation of philosophy is shared with the imaginary of developers of technology. Both operate through projections into the future and by experimenting with what could be.

In our symposium, we would like to address the shared questions and operations of philosophy and technological development. How have and can philosophical questions support the development of future technologies? How in turn can technological practices and development inform philosophical and other theories?

Going back to Ramon Llull’s ideas from the 12th century about algorithmically generated knowledge, technology and philosophy have both inspired and fought with each other. The synergies of philosophical endeavors and the development of technologies are exemplified by today’s advanced computer science and the philosophical speculations on artificial intelligence. Only in collaboration philosophers and the makers of technology can address the ethical implications and existential threats relating to technology.

How can both making and theorizing help us imagining future technologies and their impact on societies? Could computational modelling of complex systems be a way towards a deepened understanding of technological development and societal change, just as computer science, chaos theory, and some parts of mathematics have turned into experimental sciences, thanks to such approaches? And can such hands-on knowledge be communicated, or is it a tacit knowledge, a craft? Guided by these questions we want to develop seeds for a philosophy for makers and an idea of a technology for philosophy.

Departing from the existing body of research in the philosophy of technology (from Norbert Wiener and the cybernetics via Bruno Latour to Katherine Hayles and Andrew Pickering), we seek contributions that transcend that, and could potentially show a way towards a symbiosis of technology and philosophy.

 

Proposals are encouraged within the following topics:

  • philosophical imaginations of futures
  • interaction between philosophy and technological development
  • speculative art practices
  • thought experiments
  • techniques of world building in philosophy, technology and the arts
  • speculative design
  • theories of making, crafting, prototyping, developing
  • the limits of imagination, prediction, anticipation
  • comparative futurologies
  • the relationship between science fiction and science
  • ethical design for the future
  • ethics of technology
  • design inspired by philosophy

 

Format of the presentations

We explicitly want to foster exchange between humanities-based researchers, makers, technologists, and artists. The interdisciplinary discussion of technological futures has yet to find its forms within and outside of academia. Our aim is, therefore, to test different forms of presentation. We encourage participants to briefly present one particular technology or one particular theory about technology. The individual presentations will be complemented with open discussion rounds and documentation rounds. The focus on brief showcases, together with the small format of the workshop, allows for extended and deep discussions, and prevents endless boring paper sessions.

We are looking for brief technological and philosophical showcases limited to 20 minutes. You could either present a particular technology, particular theory or case study you are working on.

We are also open for experimental presentations: collaborative, participatory, artistic, performative – time and space logistics permitting.

 

Submission

To submit a proposal please send via email in PDF format to the coordinators or the circle email address below (we will confirm receipt of submission within a day):

Palle Dahlstedt (palle@chalmers.se), Rafael Dernbach (rafael.dernbach@gmail.com),
Circle email: cybioses@nsuweb.org

  1. A written proposal (350 words) with a title and descriptive subtitle. This text should include your presentation proposal, its format its duration, facilities you need (e.g., space, technical equipment)
  2. A short bio (200 words)

It is possible to attend the symposium without presenting. In this case, please just email a short bio.

NOTE! The final deadline to submit proposals is June 1st, 2019 BUT as accomodations are limited for the whole NSU Summer session, we encourage you to submit as soon as possible. Acceptance decision and registering information will be given on a rolling basis, within 24h after reception of your proposal, so that you can register as soon as possible. 

The preliminary program will be announced on July 7th, 2019, on www.nordic.university where you can also find more information about NSU and sign up for the newsletter.

Registration and payment

Once you have been accepted to participate in the symposium, you will be expected to complete the registration and payment process by June 1st, 2019. All registration and payment is done electronically. We apologize for the short time for this.

Cost and accommodation

Roosta Holiday Village is located on the Estonian coast, 39 kilometres from Haapsalu and 115 kilometres from Tallinn. It will take place from 28 July (arrival day) to 4 August (departure day) in Roosta Holiday Village in Estonia. All prices include accommodation in beautiful cabins with shared bathrooms in a wooded area, three meals and coffee breaks every day (except for excursion day), a beautiful beach next to the cabins (24/7), sauna and the conference program of the circles during the day and cultural program in the evenings.

  • Scholarships (18) (in a twin loft in 3 bedroom house)
 80 EUR
  • Grants (18) (in a twin loft in 3 bedroom house)
 100 EUR
  • A bed in a twin loft in 1 bedroom house (32)
    • 325 EUR for participants
    • 375 EUR for accompanying persons
      (250 for a child till 12 years)
  • A bed in a twin room in 1 bedroom house (24)
    • 475 EUR for participants
    • 535 EUR for accompanying persons
      (300 EUR for child till 12 years)
  • A bed in twin room downstairs in 3 bedroom house (6)
    • 430 EUR for participants
    • 490 EUR for accompanying persons
  • FAMILY ROOM (2 adults + 1 kid till 12 years) (5 rooms)
 1175 EUR
  • FAMILY ROOM (2 kids till 12 years + 1 adult) (5 rooms)
 850 EUR
  • Children aged 0-3 sharing bed with parents 0 EUR
  • A bed in a caravan for 4 people or Saulkrasti nostalgia (8)
 360 EUR
  • A bed in a caravan for 2 people or Saulkrasti nostalgia (4)
 540 EUR
  • Tent place for 1 person
 340 EUR

 

Scholarship program

NSU provides a number of scholarships and grants for those in need of a subsidy in order to attend the summer session. The application period ends on May 1, 2019. For information see http://support.nsuweb.org/arrkom/scholarship-and-grant-program/

Please note that people who receive grants and scholarships are expected to help the organising committee, ARRKOM, with small tasks like writing blog posts, sharing their experience, distributing information if needed, and helping out with setting up and cleaning up during the summer session.

 

Coordinators:

Palle Dahlstedt (Sweden)
Coordinator Study Circle 2
palle [at] chalmers.se
Study Circle 2: Cybiosis: Shaping Human-Technology Futures


Rafael Dernbach (Germany)
Coordinator Study Circle 2
rafael.dernbach [at] gmail.com
Study Circle 2: Cybiosis: Shaping Human-Technology Futures


Johan Söderberg (Sweden)
Coordinator Study Circle 6, Deputy Sweden 2018
johan.soderberg [at] sts.gu.se
Study Circle 2: Cybiosis: Shaping Human-Technology Futures