Fembots and Feminism the first of three Arts Futures discussions in Melbourne talks diversity in the digital world

  • Simon Clark
  • March 8, 2016
  • Comments Off on Fembots and Feminism the first of three Arts Futures discussions in Melbourne talks diversity in the digital world

Ever wondered why Siri is female or why men dominate the tech world?

The City of Melbourne is inviting people to a special event that will dissect the role of gender and cultural diversity in an increasingly digital world.

Machine learning is already a part of our everyday – from spam filters to Siri – and Artificial Intelligence is talked about as the next great leap in the future of human endeavour. But humans are the ones teaching the machines how to think, and humans have a whole heap of baggage.

Why are so many virtual assistants female? Why do AI movies almost always have a female sex robot? Can Silicon Valley avoid ‘brogrammer’ culture creeping into code? We see our future of intelligent machines through the lens of art and popular culture. How can art and creative culture help form the reality we want?

Hosted by the ABC’s Astrid Scott, guest speakers for the Fembots and Feminism event on Tuesday 15 March include Professor Ann Nicholson, Associate Dean Education at Monash University’s IT faculty, journalist and cultural critic Mel Campbell and Dr Petra Gemeinboeck, an artist working in robotics.

Chair of the Arts and Culture Portfolio Councillor Rohan Leppert said this was the first of three Art Futures discussions which will give the arts community an opportunity to have their say on important issues.

“Through our Arts Strategy 2014-17, the City of Melbourne committed to ongoing and meaningful communication with local artists and arts organisations about the opportunities and challenges in our city’s arts sector,” Councillor Leppert said.

“The Fembots and Feminism event brings together leading creative minds to debate diversity issues in the world of artificial intelligence and examine the challenges facing Melbourne as a modern city.”

This first event in the Art Futures series coincides with the City of Melbourne’s community engagement for the refresh of Future Melbourne 2026, the city’s strategic plan.

“We want artists and Melbourne’s creative industries to get involved so their ideas and thoughts can be incorporated into this community-driven plan which will shape our city over the next decade,” added Councillor Leppert.

Fembots and Feminism: Who Creates Digital Intelligence takes place on Tuesday March 15th at the Carlton Connect Lab-14, 700 Swanson Street, Carlton South 3053. The event is currently booked out, but you can register for the waitlist HERE

Meanwhile the second Art Futures discussion, Credit for Creativity, focusing on artists and entrepreneurism, will take place on Tuesday 3 May 2016 as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week. Bookings will open later this month at Melbourne Knowledge Week


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Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.

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