December 2, 2018

Apply Now: Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop on AI Futures (15-16 December 2018)

[Application now closed. Stay tuned for exciting content and output from the workshop]

We’re thrilled to announce a 2-day event 15-16 December 2018, aimed at generating ideas and pieces that explore the present and future of artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies. Apply to join us!

Part of Digital Asia Hub’s ongoing series exploring “AI in Asia”, this regional workshop is supported by the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative, a joint project of the MIT Media Lab and the Harvard Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society. It incubates a range of research, prototyping, and advocacy activities within these two anchor institutions and across the broader ecosystem of civil society.

The deadline for applications is 12pm on 5th December (Singapore time).

Background: Our goal is to expand current thinking around AI and related technologies. AI continues to develop rapidly. More and more we see the use of algorithmic, automated, and autonomous systems. These technologies are poised to have significant effects on people who did not participate in their creation—in some cases they’re already having such effects. We need more voices, minds, and experiences to articulate both real presents and possible futures.

For this project, we focus less on spectacles of utopia or dystopia and more on lived experience, relationship, and community. Of course, everyday life happens within complex social systems shaped by larger institutions of politics and commerce, so we’ll be speculating across scales. We expect this to be a very generative process—we’re excited to see where our collective imagination takes us!

Approach: The weekend’s sessions will be structured around speculative prompts and group work. We will write individually and collaboratively, in an environment of mutual respect and generosity of spirit. Drawing on the book sprint model, by the end of the weekend we expect to have finished writing our volume. We are aiming to launch the volume in early 2019, and have a design and production lined up to help us get there.

You don’t have to identify as a writer to participate. You don’t have to have previously participated in a book sprint. You don’t have to be a specialist in AI technologies. We’re seeking a variety of perspectives and a variety of levels of familiarity with technology, AI and otherwise. We’re seeking people who are excited to think creatively, critically, and collaboratively about the role of technology in human lives. We’re seeking people excited to engage in some serious play.

To apply: Submit your application online using this form. Successful applicants will be notified by 8th December.

The workshop will be facilitated by Dr. Amy Johnson and the Digital Asia Hub team. We are grateful to have the Jacaranda Agency as an event partner and collaborator.

About Amy Johnson:

Amy Johnson explores the use of speculative techniques in writing, research, teaching, and advocacy. A linguistic anthropologist and scholar of science, technology, and society (STS), Dr. Johnson is currently a research fellow at the Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Amherst College, United States and a research affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University, United States. Her research examines digital play, language politics, and government use of social media. She is a published writer of both fiction and nonfiction, and her screenplays have been honored in multiple international competitions. She received her PhD from MIT in 2017.

About Digital Asia Hub:

The Digital Asia Hub is an independent, non-profit Internet and society research think tank based in Hong Kong. Incubated by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and a diverse group of academic, civil society, and private sector partners, the Hub provides a non-partisan, open, and collaborative platform for research, knowledge sharing and capacity building related to Internet and Society issues with focus on digital Asia. The Hub also aims to strengthen effective multi- stakeholder discourse, with both local and regional activities, and will contribute to – and itself serve as a node of – a larger network of academic organizations: the Global Network of Internet & Society Centers (the “NoC”).