Call for Abstracts – Technology and Politics (KU Leuven – September 2022)

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Three day conference from the Working Group on Philosophy of Technology (WGPT). Keynotes: Darian Meacham (Maastricht) and Natali Helberger (Amsterdam).

19-21 September 2022
Working Group on Philosophy of Technology (WGPT)
KU Leuven (Belgium)

> Darian Meacham (Maastricht University)
> Natali Helberger (University of Amsterdam)

Cambridge Analytica and fake news show that one can distinguish several interconnections between politics and technology. Firstly, as the Arab Spring made clear, technologies can be used by social movements to put pressure on political leaders. Secondly, political parties use technology to influence the political voting behavior of their citizens. Social media are a means to coordinate their campaigns through data-driven targeted advertising techniques. One can also think of voting technologies, such as electronic voting or blockchain-enabled e-voting. Thirdly, technologies are the object of policies. Today, we have the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the European Union seeks to construct a legal framework around the use of AI through the proposed AI Act. And finally, it is clear that regimes rely on technology for both domestic and foreign affairs. One example is the use of facial recognition or social credit systems, but the (ab)use of military technologies such as killer robots also fits under this category.

The goal of the conference is to explore these interactions between technology and politics. The organisers welcome submissions from all philosophical traditions – including but not limited to: STS, political philosophy, philosophy of technology –, as well as contributions exploring this theme through specific technologies such as GMO’s, AI, vaccines, digital media, nuclear energy, etc. Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged.

The reciprocal connections between technology and politics are numerous. Although in no way meant as an exhaustive list, the following list of suggested topics can provide inspiration:
> The (political) use of military technologies
> The use of voting technologies
> The development of social credit systems
> The impact of social media on politics
> The relation between industry and politics
> Technology and policy
> The (de)regulation of technologies
> The politization of technologies (voting computers, vaccines, etc.)
> The politics of the Gig Economy
> Technological solutions to societal challenges (climate change, etc.)
> Bias and fairness in AI
> The role of technology in protests and revolutions

Proposals for papers (20 minutes) and panels (1 hour 30 minutes) should be submitted in two documents. For papers, the first document contains the title, an abstract of 400 words and 3-5 keywords that characterize the presentation. For a panel, the first document describes the topic (max. 400 words), and gives the titles and abstracts of three papers (3-400 words each). In the second document the name(s) and the affiliation(s) of the author(s) have to be provided.
Other formats (such as roundtables) can also be proposed, in that case the first document describes the format and the theme (max 500 words) and the second document contains the name(s) and the affiliation(s) of the author(s)/participant(s).
Both documents need to be sent to [email protected] by 1 May 2022.
Applicants will receive notification of acceptance or rejection on 1 June 2022.
The organisers value inclusiveness and diversity. We therefore encourage submissions from and including underrepresented groups in academia.

Further information
Mail: [email protected]
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Scientific Committee
Working Group on Philosophy of Technology
Institute of Philosophy, University of Leuven
Kardinaal Mercierplein 2, 3000 Leuven, Belgium