CFP: Care and Machines, Manchester

CFP: Care and Machines: an interdisciplinary conference on caring relationships with technologies 

Location: University of Manchester

Date: 20th – 21st October 2017

Deadline: 1st June 2017

The event will provide researchers from a variety of fields with the opportunity to come together and to discuss and reflect upon what is meant by ‘care’ in a world characterised by increasingly intimate relationships with machines (of all shapes and sizes).

The conference will feature keynote presentations from Prof Noel Sharkey (University of Sheffield; Robot Wars);  Prof Jeanette Pols (University of Amsterdam); Dr Kate Devlin (Goldsmiths University, London); Dr Aimee van Wynsberghe (University of Twente); and Nigel Ackland (public speaker on bionics and cyborgs). These discussions will explore care in contexts ranging from healthcare and mobile technologies, to prosthetics and dis/ability, to machines as companions, and sexual tools and partners. Researchers are invited to propose papers on these themes and other aspects of care to be presented at the conference.

In order to explore critically the meaning, significance, and future of care and machines, contributors from a range of disciplines are invited to propose papers on a variety of topics. As an indicative guide, topics and questions that might be explored include, but are not limited to, the following:

Methodological issues

  • What is ‘care’ in relation to other concepts such as wellbeing, trust, or altruism?
  • What do these reveal about our understandings of care and machines?
  • How can we discern or measure ‘care’ in a technological context?
  • What insights from the philosophy of technology can be applied, developed, or critiqued?

Ethical issues

  • Do humans have a duty of care to one another?
  • Can/should this be technologically mediated?
  • Do humans have a duty of care to nonhumans, including machines and animals?
  • How do practices of care interact care and machines an interdisciplinary conference on caring relationships with technologies between different nonhumans, i.e. can/should machines care for nature or animals?
  • What, if any, are the reciprocal demands on participants – human and machine – in caring relationships?

Practices in contexts

  • What specific questions are raised by different examples of care and machines? (I.e. mobile devices and ubiquitous communication/data mining; companion robots and projection of emotion/replacement of relationships with other humans; machines in medicine and trust/prompting of new moral dilemmas such as switching off life machines; etc.)

Disciplines, traditions and receptions

  • How do historical relationships influence our present and future attitudes to care in technological contexts?
  • How do depictions of technologies in fiction influence our attitudes to care and machines?
  • What religious attitudes would support or challenge practices of care with machines?

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, together with a short author bio (of approximately 100 words), to The closing date for proposals is 1st June 2017, and authors will be notified of decisions by 1st July. Prospective presenters should be aware of the diverse audience of this conference, and ensure that their papers are accessible to researchers from other fields and disciplines. This should be reflected in abstracts and proposals. This conference is part of the Living with and Loving Machines project at the Lincoln Theological Institute, The University of Manchester.

Further information, as well as of the project that it is part of (‘Living with and Loving Machines’) and the Lincoln Theological Institute who are hosting the conference, can be found at the website: Registration for the conference (for presenters and delegates) will open in June.

Please feel free to circulate this CFP across your networks and to those you think may be interested in the themes of the conference.

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