Conference Keynote #2


Deborah Chambers
– Newcastle University –

» Friday June 30th, 16:00, Grand Amphithéâtre de la Sorbonne
Mediated and Simulated Intimacies:
The Entrance of Algorithms, Robotics, and Smart Technologies into Personal Life

What roles are new technologies playing within changing notions and practices of intimacy? This presentation examines the processes through which personal connections are performed, displayed and re-conceived in the digital era. The entrance of algorithms, robotics and smart technology into spheres of intimacy are addressed to enquire into ways emotions and personal relationships are imagined and narrativized in popular culture. While ‘simulated intelligence’ goes almost unquestioned in everyday discourses about robotics, ‘simulated intimacy’ remains deeply perplexing. To cast light on the nature of today’s mediated intimacy, the talk will address dilemmas of mediated intimacy relating to trust, privacy and authenticity. Two aspects of mediated and ‘machine’ intimacy will be explored: ‘public intimacy’ associated with social media, and ‘automated intimacy’ narrativized through interactions with humanoid robots. These discourses represent points of tension surrounding changing personal relationships. The talk will discuss whether they signify a crisis of intimacy or sociable creativity in the digital age.
Deborah Chambers is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at Newcastle University.
Intersecting media and cultural studies and sociology, her research areas include networked intimacy and changing social ties; media and popular cultures; the meaning of home; changing media technologies and households; women and journalism. Her books include Changing Media, Homes and Households: Cultures, Technologies and Meanings (2016); Social Media and Personal Relationships: Online Intimacies and Networked Friendship (2013); A Sociology of Family Life: Change and Diversity in Intimate Relations (Polity 2012); New Social Ties: Contemporary Connections in a Fragmented Society (Palgrave Macmillan 2006), Women and Journalism (Chambers, Steiner and Fleming Routledge 2004); Representing the Family (Sage 2001)