05 November 2020

‘After the Car: Artificial Intelligence and Automated Mobility Systems’ Workshop

The digital revolution is fundamentally changing how people interact with technologies and reshaping the social world, including by promoting new forms of autonomous mobilities. The Italian philosopher Massimo Durante has argued that the “computational powers” driving this reworlding of society, expressed through artificial intelligence systems, algorithms and other computational models, are "adapting the world and its representation to the exercise of their power." However, Director of the Emerging Technologies Research Lab, Professor Sarah Pink, argues that people engage with emerging technologies in highly complex ways and “without attending to the social, sensory, affective and creative ways that people innovate with technologies in an experiential world we will never understand the possibilities of future mobilities.”

This Workshop, organized by the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Network - Cooperative, Connected and Automated Mobility: EU and Australasian Innovations (CCAMEU) – at the University of South Australia, asks fundamental questions about experimentation in the reworlding of mobilities arising in the wake of artificial intelligence.  Addressing shifts from the car-based dominant system of twentieth century mobilities to the emerging automated networks of mobilities in the twenty-first century, the Workshop considers the formidable technological, economic, social, organizational and global problems associated with the ‘engineering’ of a new system of automated mobilities.  From issues of ‘carbon power’ to infrastructural funding, the central focus concerns the many problems and dilemmas relating to reworlding mobilities within the technological frameworks of AI, machine learning, big data, advanced robotics and accelerating automation.

The Workshop intends to address these contentious topics head on, and provide a forum for vibrant discussion about future directions in both AI and mobilities, and crucially, in research endeavours that aim to establish meaningful links between the two.

Keynote Presentations

Massimo Durante

Computational power, epistemology, and new mobility planning

We increasingly delegate tasks to machines that operate outside of strict human control and based on their own representation of the world. This raises consequences and issues of a new kind, which require us to rethink our relationship and interaction with autonomous agents and with the world. The new scope and nature of autonomous driving mobility is an excellent illustration of this ongoing transformation. Whoever drives a car encounters the world through physical space: a space equipped with signals that human beings decode as part of their form of life, that is to say, a context with rules and meaning. The self-driving car encounters the world as a reconfigured space: a space structured by signals that the car decodes as part of its computational power and the related reconfiguration of space. For this very simple reason, the number of representations of the world continues to multiply, thanks to the proliferation of artificial agents or computational systems. Which representations of the world are going to prevail, and which ones are going to need to adapt?  Will humans be adapting to driverless cars or vice versa? Will we adapt the environment to driverless cars, perhaps by building preferential or reserved lanes? Will we ensure that driverless cars adapt to our own environment, by providing them with increasingly sophisticated computational power? Will we develop a system that allows human beings to collaborate with driverless cars, letting them intervene in the driving process? Or even one that allows driverless cars to collaborate with one another? Hence, the key political and epistemological question: who is destined to adapt to the representation of whom?

Durante_Immagine.jpgMassimo Durante is Professor in Philosophy of Law and Legal Informatics at the Department of Law, University of Turin. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Law, Department of Law, University of Turin, and a Ph.D. in Moral Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, Paris IV Sorbonne. He is vice-coordinator of the Joint International Doctoral Degree in “Law, Science, and Technology” and Faculty Fellow of the Nexa Center for Internet and Society at the Polytechnics of Turin. His main interests are law and technology, information ethics, digital governance, privacy and data protection law, AI & law.



Sarah Pink

Future Automated Mobilities and Possible Worlds

While there is growing acknowledgement that we need to better account for the social worlds for which future automated mobility systems are envisioned and designed, all too often the impacts of future mobilities systems are commonly understood in technology design, industry and policy fields as technological solutions to both societal problems and individual lives. In this talk I discuss how technologically driven visions of future automated mobilities can be complicated and more realistically envisioned through a design anthropological approach. I draw on research into the future of self-driving cars and Mobility as a Service undertaken with colleagues in Sweden from 2014, across four government funded and industry partnered projects. Our research demonstrates the complexity of how people engage with emerging technologies. It emphasises that without attending to the social, sensory, affective and creative ways that people innovate with technologies in an experiential world we will never understand the possibilities of future mobilities. And it calls for rethinking how concepts such as trust, sharing and personalisation are conceptualised and mobilised in this field. I argue for an approach to future mobility systems that collaboratively and productively complicates how both people and futures are conceptualised in technology design. This approach benefits from a new futures-focused and interventional social science which is equipped with conceptual and methodological capacity to exceed its traditional role and collaborate in the futures space.

SSarah Pink Monash Photo.jpgarah Pink (PhD, FASSA) is Professor and Director of the Emerging Technologies Research Lab and an Associate Director of the Monash Energy Institute at Monash University, Australia. She leads the Transport Mobilities Focus Area, and co-leads the People Programme of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Automated Decision-Making & Society. Sarah is an international Visiting Professor at Halmstad University, Sweden and Loughborough University, UK.



1.00pm - 1.30pm

CCAMEU Network Introduction

Professor Anthony Elliott

1.30pm - 2.40pm

Keynote Presentation Followed by Q&A

Future Automated Mobilities and Possible Worlds

Professor Sarah Pink

2.40pm - 3.00pm CCAMEU Network Discussion
3.00pm - 3.30pm Afternoon Tea
3.30pm - 4.40pm

Keynote Presentation Followed by Q&A

Computational power, epistemology, and new mobility planning

Professor Massimo Durante

4.40pm - 5.00pm Plenary Network Discussion and Closing Comments


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