Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 540. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org  From: ldemol
Subject: 2nd CfA HAPOC-5, 28-30 October 2019, Bergamo, Italy (107)  From: Jeffrey Mathias Subject: CFP: SHOT Milan Panel 'Cybernetics and Mysticism' (89) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2019-03-13 06:41:28+00:00 From: ldemol Subject: 2nd CfA HAPOC-5, 28-30 October 2019, Bergamo, Italy HaPoC 2019: 2nd Call for Abstracts 5th International Conference on the History and Philosophy of Computing 28-30 October 2019 Bergamo, Italy Website: https://hapoc2019.sciencesconf.org Email: email@example.com Today more than ever computers have taken center stage in our lives: science, economy, politics, art, there is no single human endeavour that has been left unaffected by Information Technologies. Whether this impact is positive or negative, is still very much up for debate. People connected to the Internet can enjoy an unprecedented amount of information and computing power at their disposal, but more and more negative side effects of a widespread use of computers are brought to our attention: automation bias, echo chambers, shortened attention spans, job displacement, election hacking are just a few examples. The latest AI-hype fuelled by computationally feasible machine learning techniques have brought to reality philosophical topics previously relegated to mental experiments and theoretical discourses. The trolley problem has never been more popular thanks to self-driving cars. The need to conduct a systematic and well-informed discussion in a context ranging from theoretical and mathematical problems to labour and resource exploitation issues is evident. The broken dialogue between young and aggressively finance-oriented tech moguls and old-school politicians fumbling for regulation of little-known phenomena is not promising. HaPoC’s appeal to historical and philosophical reflection aims at addressing this shortcoming. We aim to bring together researchers exploring the various aspects of computation: historians, philosophers, computer scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, designers, manufacturers, practitioners, artists, logicians, mathematicians, each with their own experience and expertise, all part of a society impacted by computation, and all necessary to the creation of a better discourse. Main Topics For HaPoC 2019, we welcome contributions from scholars who intend to participate in the debate on the impact of computers on culture, science, and society from the perspective of their area of expertise, and who are open to engage in interdisciplinary discussions across multiple fields. Topics include but are not limited to: History of computation, computers, algorithms, programs, paradigms, software and hardware companies and communities, … Philosophy of computation, philosophy of the mind in relation with computer science, ethics of computer science, epistemology of computer science… Foundational issues of computation, limits of computability, the Church-Turing thesis, formal systems, semantic of programs, … Computation in the Sciences, experiments and simulations with computers, big data analytics, epistemological issues, … Computation in Society, social networks, news and content distribution, automation, digital divide, privacy and security, … Computation in the Arts, digital art, interactivity, computer games, affective computing, human-computer interaction, … How to submit We cordially invite researchers working in a field relevant to the main topics of the conference to submit a short abstract of 180-200 words and an extended abstract of at most a 1000 words (references included) through EasyChair at: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=hapoc2019 Accepted papers will be presented in 30 minute slots including discussion. Abstracts must be written in English. Please note that the format of uploaded files must be in .pdf. Submissions without extended abstract will not be considered. IMPORTANT DATES Submission deadline: April 30, 2019 Notification of acceptance/rejection: June 30, 2019 Conference dates: October 28-30, 2019 Travel Grants The HaPoC Council is happy to announce the availability of four HAPOC travel grants of $250 each to support participation at the conference. An accepted paper is required in order to be eligible for the grant. In order to apply, please send the following details to firstname.lastname@example.org: CV and a brief (up to 200 words) description of why you require financial support The title of your HaPoC 2019 submission Detailed budget indicating any other funding possibilities (if available) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2019-03-13 06:40:20+00:00 From: Jeffrey Mathias Subject: CFP: SHOT Milan Panel 'Cybernetics and Mysticism' Society for the History of Technology, Annual meeting 2019, Milan, 24-27 October 2019 Session proposal: "Cybernetics and Mysticism" Organizers: Jeffrey Mathias, Cornell University Jan Müggenburg, Leuphana University Lüneburg Description: "The reprobation attaching in former ages to the sin of sorcery attaches now on in many minds to the speculations of modern cybernetics" (Wiener 1963, 49). Norbert Wiener's repeated comparison of 'modern cybernetics' - the Cold War science of communication and control - and ancient sorcery was motivated by a humanist impulse, attempting to strictly separate superstition from science and disenchant the cybernetic machines that seemed disturbingly lively (ibid., p50). Wiener fretted over the possibility of his scientific peers exploiting the awe of the "man on the street" at these machines for political purposes. For Wiener, the sin ultimately might lie not in the sorcery of cybernetics but in "using the magic of modern automatization to further personal profit or let loose the apocalyptic terrors of nuclear war" (ibid. p. 52). Seen from a cultural historical perspective, this intuition that cybernetics might be perceived as a successor to occult and mystical practices- and that this has particular political stakes- allows us to get at the heart of many of the questions provoked by cybernetics. Indeed, cybernetics inspired and proliferated all kinds of 'magical thinking'. At its margins, fringe groups like L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and countercultural figures such as neurophysiologist and 'LSD guru' John C. Lilly and video artist Paul Ryan tried to combine cybernetic theories with mystical and religious concepts (Kline 2015, p. 183) (Lilly 1972) (Sachs-Collopy 2015). Within the original cybernetic cluster, many key figures found themselves drawn to holistic and esoteric styles of thought. In his 1953 popular book _The Living Brain_, William Grey Walter, for one, couched his theoretical neurophysiology in broad speculation about telepathy, dreams, and the uncanny powers displayed by Indian yogis (Walter 1953) (Pickering 2011). Heinz von Foerster was further a certified magician and, to a certain degree, understood the construction of cybernetic machines as a continuation of his engagement with magic (Müggenburg 2018). Stafford Beer, disillusioned by the violent collapse of Project Cybersyn in Chile, turned to tantric yoga, a practice he saw as largely consonant with management cybernetics (Medina 2014). Beginning from this "mysticism" as a racialized, colonial formation, this panel this aims to take seriously the esoteric and utopian imaginaries that emerge from and subtend cybernetics and its associated sciences. A central question of the panel is thus how mystical thinking and gendered concepts of charisma and polymathy in cybernetics relate to each other. We ask how narratives of cybernetics as "an up-to-date form of Black Magic" play out central anxieties and tensions- political and personal- inherent to this variegated interdisciplinary field (Young, quoted in Kline 2015, p.183). To what ends did these imaginaries function? ---- Kline, Ron (2015): /The Cybernetics Moment. Or Why We Call Our Age the Information Age/, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. Lilly, John C. (1972). /Programming and metaprogramming in the human biocomputer: theory and experiments/ (2nd ed.). Julian Press. Medina, Eden (2014): /Cybernetic Revolutionaries:Technology and Politics in Allendes Chile/, Cambridge, Mass.:MIT Press. Müggenburg, Jan (2018): /Lebhafte Artefakte. Heinz von Foerster und die Maschinen des Biological Computer Laboratory/, GÃ¶ttingen: Konstanz University Press. Pickering, Andrew (2011): /The Cybernetic Brain. Sketches of Another Future/, Chicago: Chicago University Press. Sachs Collopy, Peter (2015): /The Revolution Will Be Videotaped: Making a Technology of Consciousness in the Long 1960s/, Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. Walter, William Grey. (1953). /The living brain./ New York: Norton. Wiener, Norbert (1963): /God & Golem, Inc. A Comment on Certain Points were Cybernetics Impinges on Religion/, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. -- Jeffrey Mathias Department of Science and Technology Studies Cornell University _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: email@example.com List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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