Digital Technologies and Identity

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Digital Technologies and Identity
4th TSHD Digital Humanities Symposium
Screen of a smartphone

Artificial intelligence, algorithms, and other digital technologies impact and transform our identities in various ways.

Algorithms perform a wide range of tasks for us, changing the nature of work and our identities as workers. They decide who gets a mortgage, who earns parole, and who is invited to a job interview, constraining our life choices. Algorithms on social media influence how we vote, what groups we align with, and how we express our identities to others. We anthropomorphize and form close relationships with digital technologies embedded in chatbots and robots. Meanwhile, generative AIs proficient at generating text, music, and images raise questions about our creative identities and authenticity of expression. As digital technologies are integrated into our brains and bodies, new forms of hybrid, cyborg identities emerge. 

Our interactions with digital technologies shape who we are, and what we feel, think, and do. Digitalization therefore transforms our professional, political, moral, and personal identities. At the same time, the digitization of human experience raises questions about our ability to capture multifaceted identities in terms of raw data. 

This symposium aims to deepen our understanding of the effects of digital technology on our identities, focusing on the following questions:

  • What is the nature of human (personal or social) identity, and how do digital technologies transform it?
  • How do digital technologies influence the ways in which we express and communicate our identities (to ourselves, others, or machines)?
  • What are the practical, political, and moral effects of the “datafication” of human identities?
  • How do digital technologies affect (specific) identities, e.g., our identities as workers, friends, or creatives?

We aim to answer these questions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. We invite speakers to present on a broad range of topics including, but not limited to, the cognitive (e.g., the effects of digital technologies on perception of the self, others, and machines), arts and media (e.g., the role of virtual reality in narratives about human identity), philosophical (e.g., the nature of human identity, philosophy of technology, moral analyses), linguistic (e.g., digital technology and stylometry, profiling, human-AI communication), artificial intelligence (e.g., the nature and properties of algorithms and datasets as they relate to human identity), and communication and information studies (e.g., chatbots and friendship, social media and online identity).

Submitted papers ideally (but not necessarily) feature digital humanities methods or reflect on digital media and technologies.

This 2-day, hybrid symposium - part on-site in Tilburg, part online - brings together scholars from a range of disciplines, including Philosophy, Culture Studies, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Cultural, Literary, and Media Studies, Communication and Information Sciences, Computational Linguistics, and Cognitive Science, to engage in a cross-disciplinary dialogue on these matters.

Keynote speakers to be confirmed.

We invite interested speakers to submit (i) an anonymized abstract of max. 300 words, and (ii) a cover sheet including your name,  and institutional affiliation, and whether you would prefer to give a talk in person or online to DHsymposium@tilburguniversity.edu by April 30, 2024. You’ll be notified on May the 15th.

Organizers:

Richard Heersmink
William Marler
Mirella De Sisto
Saif Shahin
Barend de Rooij