Symposium "Social Justice and Technological Futures"

2–3 May 2023, Uni­ver­sity of Tübin­gen, Germany


Research­ers and act­iv­ists increas­ingly bor­row the­or­ies and calls to action from social justice move­ments to face the chal­lenges of Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence, algorithmic bias and dis­crim­in­a­tion, profit-driv­en innov­a­tion, and tech­no­logy ima­gin­ar­ies around con­veni­ence, optim­iz­a­tion, and neut­ral­ity. Thanks to the works of Black fem­in­ists and crit­ic­al race the­or­ists as well as deco­lo­ni­al and Glob­al South schol­ars and act­iv­ists, we are made aware of the inter­lock­ings of soci­et­al, eco­nom­ic, cul­tur­al, and polit­ic­al oppres­sion in the design, pro­duc­tion, and dis­tri­bu­tion of tech­no­logy (AI-based and in a broad­er sense). In think­ing about the future and its daunt­ing chal­lenges, includ­ing the trans­form­a­tion of work, cli­mate change, migra­tion, and over­all pre­car­ity, what should be the role of tech­no­logy? What do tech­no­lo­gic­al futures look like from a social justice per­spect­ive? The Tübin­gen Sym­posi­um will bring togeth­er cri­tiques of unset­tling tra­ject­or­ies as well as vis­ions for altern­at­ive path­ways. We will ques­tion the canon­ic­al val­ues in tech­no­logy cre­ation – scale, effi­ciency, and (big) data aggreg­a­tion – while also explor­ing diverse and poten­tially com­pet­ing social justice concepts.

The Tübin­gen Sym­posi­um will give invited speak­ers the oppor­tun­ity to con­nect and share views on the top­ics of the sym­posi­um. The audi­ence will bene­fit from inter­act­ive pan­els includ­ing dis­cus­sions of case stud­ies of harm­ful con­tem­por­ary or vis­ion­ary altern­at­ive tech­no­lo­gies. Invited speak­ers and par­ti­cipants may bring per­spect­ives from sci­ence fic­tion, Afro­fu­tur­ism, tech gov­ernance, policy and reg­u­la­tion, design approaches for social justice, digit­al act­iv­ism, respons­ible research and innov­a­tion, deco­lo­ni­al approaches to tech­no­logy devel­op­ment, and more! For ques­tions, please con­tact Laura Schelenz,