Webinar Culture and AI, July 6, 2021 14:00-17:00 CET

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While AI is an intensively debated topic, the impact of AI on the social and cultural life is less investigated. This will be highlighted in the webinar. The webinar will consist of talks of three experts in the domain of AI and culture and will conclude with a plenary discussion of the speakers.


  • Sascha Dickel

Title: "Communicative Robots and (Post-)human Identities"

Abstract: With the rise of communicative robots like Amazon’s Alexa, language-based interaction with machines is increasingly becoming part of our everyday life. This presentation uses the case of communicative robots to investigate the changing relationship between humans and machines. I suggest that communicative robots challenge established boundaries of the social world but nevertheless reproduce a cultural asymmetry between human and non-human actors.

Person: My research profile connects an academic background in sociology with a transdisciplinary career trajectory in science & technology studies. One of my major research fields are the challenges of digital technologies for society and social theory.

  • Christoph Bläsi

Title: "AI in editing, marketing, and using books. What do we know about potential effects on taste and creation?"

Abstract: In the publishing industry, AI applications are not only used in general management and marketing, but increasingly also at the core of its value chain, in editorial work. After an overview about such applications, the book usage process (buying, reading) and its support and / or surveyllance by AI systems will be focused. Anecdotal evidence (corresponding platforms don´t talk much about what they do ...) and insights from other media systems (film, music) inform a research project that has just started and will research particularly algorithmic recommendations and their effects on cultural tastes and possibly also the creation side.

Person: Christoph Bläsi is a professor for book / publishing studies at JGU´s  Gutenberg Institute for World Literature and Written Media. His main areas of interest are digital publishing and book business as well as the application of digital humanities methods to book studies research problems. More recently, he has been starting research on AI applications in the book industry as well as on the effects of recommender engines on cultural tastes.

  • Petra Ahrweiler, Dr. Martin Neumann, Dr. Frederick Herget

Title: How does AI shape social change in the domain of public policy?

Abstract: the lab for sociology of technology and innovation of the JGU Mainz will provide an overview of ongoing research projects on the influence of AI on social change.  This will be illustrated at two examples: One example is algorithmic assessment for social welfare provision. Research is undertaken in a bidirectional way: It is studied how AI assesses humans and how humans assess AI. A second example is cognition in navigating political landscapes. It is investigated whether AI based complexity reducing devices foster the rise of political populism.

Person: The lab of Professor Petra Ahrweiler is investigating the sociology of technology and innovation. Professor Ahrweiler received her PhD for a study on AI and obtained her habilitation for a study on simulation in Science and Technology Studies. Her lab investigates whether and how new technologies and innovations have the potential to redraw the image of our society in a completely new way. Dr. Frederick Herget will talk about algorithmic assessment for social welfare provision. Dr. Martin Neumann will concentrate on the impact of AI on navigating political landscapes.

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JGU-Team holt den 4. Platz bei der „Frontier of Food“ Challenge

Team Innovation Networks (v. l. n. r. Nils Eggert, Rebekka Panitz, Viktoriia Voloshan, Jan Gruca und Johanna Kayser) © Ekipa.

Im Rahmen des Seminars „Innovation Networks“, dass von Prof. Dr. Petra Ahrweiler geleitet wurde, hat eine Gruppe Soziologiestudenten erfolgreich an der „Frontier of Food“ Challenge teilgenommen und dabei den 4. Platz erreicht. Die interdisziplinäre Challenge wurde von Merck KGaA und Ekipa organisiert, dabei ging es um das Thema „die Zukunft des Essens“, welches von den studentischen Teams sehr unterschiedlich bearbeitet wurde. Das Team der JGU hat sich mit der Thematik gezüchtetes Fleisch/Clean Meat beschäftigt und dabei ein Konzept entwickelt, wie man bzw. Merck das Produkt Clean Meat auf dem Markt etablieren kann und gleichzeitig zu einem zentralen Akteur des technologischen Fortschritts in diesem Bereich wird. Für den 1. Platz hat es damit nicht gereicht, trotzdem konnte sich das Team über den Gewinn von 1000 Euro Preisgeld freuen. Den 1. Platz hat ein Team von der Universität Wageningen (Niederlande) gewonnen, welches ein Verfahren zur Fermentation von Früchten entwickelt hat.[/caption]


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Seminar for JGU students in summer semester 2019 (März 2018)

Stipendiaten und Stipendiatinnen der Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes am St. John’s College der University of Cambridge, UK, werden besonders auf den Ferienakademie-Kurs „Policy Modelling Using Agent-Based Simulation“ hingewiesen, den Arbeitsbereichs-Leiterin Prof. Dr. Petra Ahrweiler im Spät-sommer 2018 auf der Studienstiftungs-Akademie „Zukunft. Future“ zusammen mit dem Soziologen Prof. Dr. Nigel Gilbert (University of Surrey, UK) in Cambridge anbieten wird.

Dieses Seminar wird für alle Studierenden unseres Lehrgebiets im Sommersemester 2019 auch an der JGU Mainz angeboten.