Who Speaks? - Artificial Intelligence, Language and Democracy

‘Who Speaks?’ was a semester education collaboration between the Master Non Linear Narrative of the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, Goldsmiths (University of London) and Camberwell College of Arts (CCW / University of the Arts London). Generously supported by the Dutch Parliament and the Knowledge Exchange Impact Fund, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges (CCW), University of the Arts, London.

Who Speaks?
Artificial Intelligence, Language, and Democracy

Who Speaks? tackled major issues including politics as a rhetorical gesture, law as an act of speech and aesthetics as a language of imagination. The aim of the project was to bring together academic researchers, non-profit activists, and public services such as Bits of Freedom and the Analysis and Research Department (DAO) of the Dutch Parliament, for joint knowledge exchange and discussion on AI driven democracy, language and decision-making.

The project kicked-off at the House of Representatives on 20 January 2020, where students were able to get acquainted with the work of the Analysis and Research Department. The participants engaged in debate and discussion on topics such as open-source software, blockchain technology, platforms politics and internet censorship. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the planned symposium on human and non-human languages in shaping democracy with experts from technology, philosophy, policy, politics, journalism and creative practice had to be postponed, while from mid-March, all lessons, as well as the interim presentations, took place online.

Project results

Starting with the Dutch Constitution, students responses included exploring the evolution of, and changes to, freedom of speech, the ethics of the Dutch digital fraud prevention system SyRI, the implications of implementing language-based technologies in administrative processes, the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) on employment, and information overload around parliamentary news, amongst others.

The results of the students' work were presented on the website whospeaks.eu launched at the end of August 2020.

screenshot whospeaks.eu
screenshot whospeaks.eu

Visit the website whospeaks.eu

Who Speaks? is part of a series of initiatives organised by the Queer Computing Consortium (QCC), co-founded by Ramon Amaro, Sheena Calvert, Niels Schrader, in collaboration with the Non Linear Narrative Master’s programme of the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, UCL (University College London) History of Art Department and Camberwell College of Arts (CCW / University of the Arts London).

Participating students

Student participants include Katie Pelikan Baselj, Justine Corrijn, Sophie Czich, Esther van der Heijden, Tuana İnhan, Dario Di Paolantonio, Jenny Konrad, Lance Laoyan, Marcin Liminowicz, Felix Meermann, Pablo Perez, Taya Reshetnik, Elinor Salomon and Natalia Sliwinska (MA Non Linear Narrative, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague); and Callum Palmier-Robertson (BA Graphic Design, Camberwell College of Arts, London).

Supervision by Lauren Alexander, Mijke van der Drift, Lizzie Malcolm, Dan Powers and Niels Schrader with support from Vanessa Lambrecht.

Studies