Talk of automation seems to be everywhere. We are surrounded by both hype and panic about its looming impact on transport, manufacturing and work - and we are all being encouraged to worry about whether the robots are coming to take our jobs. But we had much the same revolutionary hopes and catastrophic fears about the steam engine and electricity. Today, autonomous systems, sensor networks, artificial intelligence and personalisation are already having an impact on our lives in more mundane ways - touching on everything from our social media feeds to our experiences at the supermarket checkout. How are we coping with these changes so far? How will automation further impact on our everyday lives in the near future, ranging from the technologies that deliver our news and mediate our most intimate relationships, through to how we get around our cities, manage our homes, and do our jobs? How have these transitions played out in previous periods of major technological change? What are the most challenging regulatory issues, and what are the most exciting opportunities?
Join us for this lively panel discussion, which will cover topics like:
- The future of autonomous systems and their impact on domestic life, healthcare and transport
- Automation in the historical and fictional imagination, from haunted bodies to science fiction
- Automated content curation and regulation in digital and social media
Antony Funnell is a Walkley Award winning journalist and broadcaster. He presents the weekly podcast/radio program Future Tense on ABC Radio National. Antony is the author of The Future and Related Nonsense, published by Harper Collins. He has written for various publications including the Griffith Review and was a contributor to the anthology Best Australian Science Writing 2013.
Jonathan Roberts is Professor in Robotics at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). His main research interests are in the areas of Field Robotics and in particular autonomy. He has also recently begun research in the area of Medical Robotics. Jonathan was a co-inventor of the UAV Challenge, an international flying robot competition that sees teams search for a lost bushwalker using autonomous robotic aircraft. Before joining QUT, Jonathan was the Research Director of CSIRO’s Autonomous Systems Laboratory where he developed projects in the area of museum robotics and telepresence. Jonathan is a Past President of the Australian Robotics & Automation Association Inc. He currently serves as a Senior Editor of the IEEE Journal of Robotics and Automation Letters, and as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Field Robotics.
Elizabeth Stephens is an Associate Professor in Cultural Studies and Deputy Head of School (Research) in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University. Her research focuses on queer and gender studies, and the histories of science, medicine, and technology. Her publications include two monographs: Anatomy as Spectacle: Public Exhibitions of the Body, from 1700 to the Present (Liverpool UP, 2011; paperback 2013) and Queer Writing: Homoeroticism in Jean Genet's Fiction (Palgrave 2009). She is currently working on two monographs: A Critical Genealogy of Normality, and Technology and the Training of the Senses. She is also currently involved in a series of collaborative projects with SymbioticA, the Centre of Excellence in the Biological Arts at UWA.
David Bissell is a geographer and Senior Lecturer in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. He combines qualitative research on embodied practices with social theory to explore the social, political and ethical consequences of mobile lives. His current research draws on cultural geography and theories of mobilities to investigate contemporary social problems involving mobility-labour relationships. Recent and forthcoming research projects are about the impact of commuting on cities; how mobile working practices are reshaping the home; and how new forms of workplace artificial intelligence are impacting on employment futures and family mobilities. He is co-editor of Stillness in a Mobile World (2011), and the Routledge Handbook of Mobilities (2014).
Jean Burgess (@jeanburgess) is a Professor of Digital Media and Director of the Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC) at Queensland University of Technology. Her research focuses on the uses, cultures and politics of social and mobile media platforms, as well as new and innovative digital methods for studying them. Her co-authored and edited books include YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture (Polity Press, 2009), Studying Mobile Media: Cultural Technologies, Mobile Communication, and the iPhone (Routledge, 2012), A Companion to New Media Dynamics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), and Twitter and Society (Peter Lang, 2014). She has worked successfully with a range of government, industry and not-for-profit organisations to address the practical challenges and opportunities posed by digital and social media; as well as to deploy advanced social media analytics to understand and engage with the communities they serve.