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International Conference on Automated Decision-Making and Chinese Societies
February 1 - February 3
The international conference on automated decision-making and Chinese societies (ADM & CS) will bring together global researchers and students doing cutting-edge research on digital China, particularly in the field of automated decision-making and society in the Chinese contexts.
China’s rise as a digital superpower has been part of the story about the country’s second coming as the “Central Kingdom” and of Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream”. Beijing’s digital strategy is multi-dimensional. It is technological—automated decision-making (ADM) technologies and systems, comprising an array of intelligent and emerging technologies from artificial intelligence, machine learning, to blockchain, are used to innovate social governance, service provision, transport/mobility, and knowledge production across many sectors. It is also beyond the technological to encompass a wide range of areas in social, institutional, cultural, legal and ethical domains. The imperative for COVID-19 pandemic control provides the perfect pretext for the expansive use of ADM by the bio-surveillance Party-state.
The ramification of the digital revolution is not bound by any geographic boundaries, even though it is constrained by the geopolitics of China’s rise as the new technological superpower. New forms of ADM systems are experimented in China—often pioneered by its tech giants like Huawei, DJI, Hikvision, and BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent) with the state’s support—such as the social credit system (and associated technological systems) in a gigantic social experiment with digital governance, often in combination with and implemented through low-tech or non-tech means. A new global digital architecture and order is taking shape, as exemplified by the many infrastructural projects through the digital silk road initiative, from undersea cables and 5G equipment and networks to communications satellites (China’s version of SpaceX’s Starlink). China has seized the opportunity to leapfrog from being a follower to a competitor and leader in the design, control, and use of ADM technologies and systems. It is also competing with Western (American) powers to control huge amount of data internationally, and by extension resources, ideas, intelligence, and power.
The international conference on Automated Decision-Making and Chinese Societies (ADM & CS) encourages people to look beyond “China” as a singular, unified entity, which can be “sliced” along human, geographical, political, or economic variables. Similarly, “Chinese” can mean different things to different Chinese diasporic communities around the world, often defined and redefined along the routes (instead of roots) of Chinese migrants (of generations), visitors, investors, entrepreneurs, engineers, and workers. Hence, the conference encourages an expansive interpretation of “Chinese societies” in their plural, evolving, and diverse forms, who are sometimes centrifugal and other times centripetal in relation to the People’s Republic of China.
This event will be held in-person at RMIT University, Melbourne and online.
The ADM & CS conference will address the following thematic questions:
- How is ADMS understood in the Chinese context? And who are the key players/stakeholders?
- What are its key features and trajectories?
- What is China’s ambition in the area of ADM, domestically and internationally?
- How are ADM technologies and systems used in different settings and institutions in Chinese societies?
- How are ADM systems governed? For example, will China’s Personal Information Protection Law set a global standard in regulating Internet platforms conducting automated decision-making through algorithms?
- What’s China’s role in the current debates on frameworks in governing data security, rights or ownership, ethics, and transactions?
- What are the new, emerging or hidden dynamics and politics in Chinese communities around the world as they encounter or engage with ADM technologies and systems in their everyday life and businesses?
- How do people—Chinese, non-Chinese, or foreign citizens of Chinese cultural heritage —view or interpret China’s roles in ADM? And why?
- What do Western anxieties about digital China and its ADM systems like the social credit system tell us about the new geopolitics between China and the West/US?
- What roles Chinese societies can play in ensuring fair, inclusive, responsible, and ethical ADM systems that benefit the people rather than the few with power, money and knowledge?
The ADM & CS conference includes a mix of keynote plenary sessions, regular panels and workshops. The plenary sessions feature keynote speakers and discussants, all distinguished scholars in their specific fields in and beyond digital China related research. The keynotes will provide framing, provocations and questions from different disciplinary backgrounds to kick off the event, while the plenary speakers and discussants will bring their deep expertise towards unpacking specific tracks and topics.
View the conference program for details on each session, speakers and other helpful information.
This is a hybrid conference, taking place in-person at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia and online via livestream.
- 22 September 2022 – Registration opens
- 15 October 2022 – Abstract submission deadline
Please submit an abstract of 500 words (including references) that states the paper’s main argument, method, and contribution along with a short biography for each author (approx. 200 words) to Prof Haiqing Yu and Assoc Prof Jesper Willaing Zeuthen.
- 28 October 2022 – Decision on Abstracts
- 20 January 2023 – Last day to register for in-person attendance
- 1- 3 February 2023 – International Conference on Automated Decision-Making and Chinese Societies
Professor Mark Andrejevic
Mark Andrejevic is a Professor of Communications & Media Studies at Monash University and Chief Investigator at the ADM+S Centre. His research interests encompass digital media, surveillance and data mining in the digital era.
Associate Professor Xin Dai
Xin Dai is an Associate Professor at Peking University Law School. Xin’s research interests include legal theories, law and society, economic analysis of law, information privacy and internet law.
Malavika Jayaram is the inaugural Executive Director of the Digital Asia Hub, an independent research think-tank incubated by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Her interests straddle law, technology, architecture, design and dance, and she is especially invested in the intersection of spatial, bodily and intellectual privacy, identity and autonomy.
PLENARY SPEAKERS AND DISCUSSANTS
Assistant Professor Rogier Creemers
Rogier Creemers is an Assistant Professor in Modern Chinese Studies at Leiden University. His research focuses on Chinese domestic digital technology policy, as well as China’s growing importance in global digital affairs.
Professor Jack Linchuan Qiu
Jack Linchuan Qiu is Shaw Foundation Professor in Media Technology, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University. He has published extensively in English and Chinese exploring issues of digital media and social change in relation to labor, class, globalization, and sustainability, especially in the context of Asia and the Global South.
Professor Min Jiang
Min Jiang is a Professor of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Min has written on Chinese digital technologies (search engine, social media, big data), politics (digital activism, online political satire, diplomacy), business (Chinese Internet giants, business ethics), policies (real name registration, privacy, security) and increasingly the impact of Chinese technologies and policies on the Global South and global communication.
Associate Professor Nicholas Loubere
Nicholas Loubere is an Associate Professor at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies at Lund University. Nicholas’ research sits at the nexus of interdisciplinary China Studies and Development Studies, and draws inspiration from a wide range of fields across the humanities and social sciences.
Associate Professor Rachel Douglas-Jones
Rachel Douglas-Jones is an Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen. She studies bureaucracy, policy and ethics and is currently leading the Moving Data-Moving People project, an ethnography of China’s emergent social credit system.
Associate Professor Jun Liu
Jun Liu is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Copenhagen. Drawing upon theories from communication, sociology, and political science, Jun’s research focuses on how digital technology interacts with socio-cultural forms and settings and generates new power dynamics in politics from a comparative perspective.
Dr Florian Schneider
Florian Schneider is a Senior Lecturer of Modern China Studies at Leiden University. Florian’s research interests include questions of governance and public administration in the PRC, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, political communication strategies and political content of popular Chinese entertainment, recent Chinese economic developments, as well as Chinese foreign policy.
Associate Professor Ane Bislev
Ane Bislev is an Associate Professor in the Department of Culture and Global Studies at Aalborg University. Her research interests include Chinese Internet Culture and Chinese tourism.
Mr Dev Lewis
Dev Lewis is a Researcher at Digital Asia Hub and Yenching Scholar at Peking University. His research focuses on the intersection between technology, politics, and law in China and India.
The International Conference on Automated Decision-Making and Chinese Societies is presented by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) in collaboration with the CatCh Network.
Professor Haiqing Yu
Haiqing Yu is an ARC Future Fellow and Professor of media and communication in the School of Media and Communication; a Chief Investigator at the ADMS Centre, RMIT University. She is a critical media studies scholar with expertise in digital China research. Her current research focuses on social implications of China’s ADM systems, represented by the social credit system; and Chinese digital platforms and digital diaspora in Australia and the Asia Pacific.
Associate Professor Jesper Willaing Zeuthen
Jesper Willaing Zeuthen is an Associate Professor in Chinese Area Studies at Aalborg University. Jesper manages the CatCh Network (Ruling through Division: Categorizing People and Resources in Contemporary China), and the Moving Data Moving People project (investigating how social credit system reconfigures mobility in China). His work focuses on urban-rural inequality in China, Chinese local governance, and Chinese mining companies’ engagements in Greenland.
We look forward to seeing you, either in Melbourne or online, and celebrate the 2023 Spring Festival together.