Between humans & machines: exploring the pasts & futures of automation

Join us on 16 and 17 November for our 54th Annual Academy Symposium as we explore the possibilities and hazards of automation, and the complexities of human-machine relations.

Since the late eighteenth century, the changing ‘machinery question’ has continued to spark deep social divisions and to stimulate new fields of imaginative thinking, creative speculation, and social and cultural enquiry (including political economy, cybernetics, STS, AI ethics, critical data studies, and digital ethnography).

Recent advances in artificial intelligence have generated new interests, methods, problems, and capabilities across an array of humanities and creative arts disciplines. These have complicated conventional narratives of technological transformation, enabling a deeper understanding of the possibilities and hazards of automation, and the complexities of human-machine relations.

Our 54th Annual Academy Symposium explored some of the most exciting work underway on these issues across the humanities with related institutions and industry fields, in Australia and elsewhere.

Topics included:

  • Virtual autopsies and automated morgues,
  • The automation of cultural production and cultural taste,
  • Human accountability for the actions of machines,
  • The ‘explanatory imperative’
  • Questions of Indigenous data sovereignty
  • Digital human rights.



16 & 17 November 2023


Kaleide RMIT Union Theatre, Melbourne
> Location and accomodation details


The program is available here.



17 November 2023

Join a panel to consider what is gained and what is lost from artificial intelligence and new digital technologies – considering Indigenous data sovereignty and issues of data access and ownership.

16 November 2023

From the study of Greco-Roman antiquity to fiction and virtual autopsies, join a panel to explore how automation is seeping into life and death.


17 November 2023

Jenny is the Director of the Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Indigenous Research Data Commons at the ARDC.

16 November 2023

Marc is an Associate Professor in Law, and an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at La Trobe University.

PRINICIPAL SPONSOR (3200 x 500 px)

About our annual Symposia

The future isn’t just about automation and artificial intelligence — a truly human future requires communities, sustainability, ethics, diversity and more. Our annual conference series brings together leading thinkers from the humanities, and the broader creative and cultural sectors, to discuss issues of vital importance to our future.

>> Explore the rich history of our annual Symposia

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.