Call for Papers: 2021 Schwartz Reisman Graduate Workshop



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University of Toronto Schwartz Reisman Institute fro Technology and Society

About the workshop

The 2020-2021 cohort of Schwartz Reisman Graduate Fellows presents “Views on Techno-Utopia,” a one-day, online, interdisciplinary workshop for early career scholars.

 “Views on Techno-Utopia” will bring together early career scholars in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities to follow emerging technologies—particularly AI, platforms, and surveillance tech—through the lens of techno-utopianism. 

Techno-utopianism predicts that technologies can help us overcome human flaws and usher in a better world. What sorts of societal changes can emerging technologies actually effect? How might we tell which technologies promise more than they can deliver, or carry still-hidden risks? What forms of institutional or legal design make techno-utopianism—or critiquing its reach—possible? When faced with the detrimental effects of technological solutions to social problems, the response is often to “fix” the technology, leaving the underlying optimistic narrative untouched. How might technological “fixes” reproduce the moral systems from which they hope to save us? To what extent does the allure of the “fix” obscure techno-utopian assumptions, affect research and development, including your own?  

This workshop will be a place of interdisciplinary encounter, so your proposal should be accessible to people outside of your field. For instance, we encourage science-oriented scholars to consider the moral, philosophical, or social implications of their work. Analogously, we encourage humanists to ground their presentations in concrete understandings of present and future technological possibilities. 

We welcome contributions that incisively approach the appeals and risks of techno-utopian optimism, whether by engaging with any of the questions above or by proposing new sites of inquiry. 

“Views on Techno-Utopia” is a good opportunity for presenters to receive feedback from peers and SRI fellows in a small workshop setting, as well as to take part in SRI’s larger, main conference on the following two days, featuring senior scholars from a variety of academic disciplines (information about this event is coming soon.) If graduate applicants are accepted to the grad workshop, registration for the main SRI conference will be included.

About the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society

The Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society (SRI) at the University of Toronto is a multidisciplinary research and solutions hub investigating the social effects of powerful emerging technologies like artificial intelligence. SRI integrates research across traditional boundaries to build human-centred solutions. Its research team comprises faculty and graduate students from across the academy, from machine learning, computer engineering, epistemology, systems theory, and ethics to legal design, systems of governance, religious studies, and human rights.




Please submit an abstract of 200-400 words that does not include your name or institutional affiliation. We particularly encourage early career scholars to apply; that is, graduate students or those who have finished a doctorate within the last few years. Your submission to “Views on Techno-Utopia” will be evaluated in part on its cross-disciplinary intelligibility, but please indicate below which of our disciplinary panels should review your abstract. 

If accepted, you will give a ~20 minute presentation on a small panel with ~30 minutes for discussion following—exact timing to be determined—on June 16, 2021. Papers are not required, but may be shared with attendees if you wish. If your proposal is accepted, you will be notified by early May.

Please use the form below [go to original website, linked below] for submissions. Do not email any submission materials or attachments.

Submissions close at 5 pm EST on April 5, 2021.
Questions? Please contact