Vassilis GalanosSPS Department
Science, Technology & Innovation Studies
In my doctoral project, I investigate the social dimensions of artificial intelligence and robotics. More specifically, I explore issues of expertise (who is entitled to speak about AI and robotics?) and expectations (how do future visions and imaginaries shape current discourses on AI/robotics in research, policy, and their public understanding?).
My other academic interests include, but are not limited to, cybernetics, (digital) media theory, information science, continental and oriental philosophy (sometimes identifying as a Deleuzian, other times as a Heideggerian), invented/parody religions, sexbots, and the ethics of digital sampling in music.
With my good colleagues and friends Benedetta Catanzariti, Yazmin Morlet Corti, and Sarah Bennett, we are the founding members of the Edinburgh-based AI Ethics & Society research group: https://www.eca.ed.ac.uk/research/ai-ethics-society
I tutor the undergraduate course Technology in Society and, with Fiona Coyle, we are STIS's PhD community's representatives. I also happen to be among the chosen few who manage our department's Twitter account (@UoE_STIS), so if you are a member of staff, student or member of the broader STIS family and have material you'd like us to tweet about (eg. publications, events, etc), send me an email.
I collect books, comicbooks, vinyl records, and beautiful beer cans.
2017-present PhD student in the Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies in the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh. Supervised by Dr Gill Haddow and Prof Robin Williams, my thesis is currently titled “Towards an Empirical Investigation of Expectations in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics: Avoiding Pitfalls of Polarised Foresight.”
October 2018-January 2019 ESRC Business Booster "Working with Business" Training Programme in Glagow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, funded by the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science.
2016-2017 MSc by Research in Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies in the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh. Supervised by Dr Catherine Heeney. MScRes thesis title: “Negative Portrayals of Artificial Intelligence and Robots in Online Press: An STS Critical Approach to the Singularity Argument.”
Courses taken: Research Skills in Social Sciences: Data Collection, Core Quantitative Analysis I+II, Science, Knowledge and Expertise.
2012-2014 MSc in Information Science and Cultural Communications. Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen. Master thesis: “Information Revolution: Postlude to a Past Future.” Supervised by Dr. Jens-Erik Mai, ” available at http://pure.iva.dk/files/36536021/Galanos_V_Beyond_Information_Revolution_Master_Thesis.pdf
Courses taken: Information Ethics, Systems-User Evaluation, Digital Memory, Knowledge Management, Urban Culture, Information Retrieval and Interaction, Information and Cultural Studies: Theories and Traditions
2005-2010 BA in Librarianship and Information Systems. Department of Library Science and Information Systems, School of Administration and Economy, Alexander Technological Education Institution of Thessaloniki. Bachelor thesis: "The Impact of Information on Cultural Product." Supervised by Dr. Stella Korobilli.
Awards and Funding
-2019 Sue Grant Award (University of Edinburgh, School of Social and Political Sciences)
-2013 Den Sociale Pris (University of Copenhagen, Royal School of Library and Information Science)
Sometimes I take pictures and I sketch.
The following YouTube channel is my attempt at saving rare musical archives from oblivion.
Several people insisted that I should put here the link to this amazing moment in my life when I had the opportunity to jam with the legendary jazz band Sun Ra Arkestra back in 2010, so, there you go: https://youtu.be/naxejPdCzoU?t=300
Expertise Sociology of expectations and futures Artificial Intelligence and Robotics digital media Digital Cultures Social Informatics and Innovation Sociocybernetics cybernetics Media and society media studies Information Society Theories Library and Information Science expert studies Science and technology studies
2017-present: Tutor in the undergraduate course Technology in Society with emphasis on student-centred learning.
Dr Gill Haddow
Prof Robin Williams
In my doctoral research project, I investigate the role of expectations in Artificial Intelligence R&D and policymaking by interviewing key players in robotics laboratories. I have identified the issue of experts’ exclusion from the loop of discussions about AI and, as a social scientist, I aim towards bridging the clusters of research communities, policymakers, media portrayals, and the public understanding of AI, using empirical tools as most discussions about AI in non-laboratory environments are overly theoretical and sometimes distorting.
[Feel free to contact me if you require copies of any paper]
Peer Reviewed Journal Publications
27/08/2019: Dwivedi, Y. K., Hughes, L., Ismagilova, E., Aarts, G., Coombs, C., Crick, T., ... & Galanos, V. (2019). "Artificial Intelligence (AI): Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Emerging Challenges, Opportunities, and Agenda for Research, Practice and Policy." International Journal of Information Management (in press, corrected proof). Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026840121930917X
06/09/2018: “Exploring Expanding Expertise: Artificial Intelligence as an Existential Threat and the Role of Prestigious Commentators.” Technology Analysis and Strategic Management 31(4), pp 421-432. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09537325.2018.1518521
01/11/2017: “Singularitarianism and Schizophrenia.” AI & Society 32(4), pp 573–590, Springer-Verlag London. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00146-016-0679-y
Peer Reviewed Book Chapters and Proceedings Publications
16/12/2019: "Teratological Aspects in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics: From Monstrous Threats to Rorschach Opportunities" In Diego Compagna and Stefanie Steinhart (eds.) Monsters, Monstrosities, and the Monstrous in Culture and Society. Delaware and Malaga: Vernon Press. https://vernonpress.com/book/590
13/04/2019: "Blended Automation: The Language-Game of Psychoanalytic Automatism and Cybernetic Automata" In Jordi Vallverdú and Vincent C. Müller (eds) Blended Cognition: The Robotic Challenge, Springer Series in Cognitive and Neural Systems book series (SSCNS, volume 12), Springer, Cham. Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-03104-6_4
26/08/2018: “Artificial Intelligence does not Exist: Lessons from Shared Cognition and the Opposition to the Nature/Nurture Divide.” Proceedings of HCC13: This Changes Everything panel in IFIP TC9 Human Choice and Computers Conference, part of the 24th IFIP World Computer Congress: Information Processing in an Increasingly Connected World: Opportunities and Threats in Poznań, Poland. Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-99605-9_27
25-27/01/2017: “The Double Meaning of ‘Replacement’ and the Moral Value of Human and Nonhuman Inforgs: Crossroads of Philosophy of Information and Actor-Network Theory” Improving Quality of Life Through Information: Proceedings of the XXV Bobcatsss Symposium, Tampere, Finland, January 2017. Available at: http://tampub.uta.fi/handle/10024/101894
Thessaloniki 02-07/07/2014: IACAP 2014 “Floridi/Flusser: Parallel Lives in Hyper/Post-History”. Chapter in: Müller, Vincent C. (ed.) (2016) “Computing and Philosophy”. Heidelberg: Springer (Synthese Library). Available at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-23291-1_15
Thessaloniki 24/01/2015: 6th Conference of the Philosophein: Episteme, Evnoia, Parrhesia journal: “Aristotle: Human, Science, Metaphysics” “Post-Aristotelian Proposals in the Age of Artificial Intelligence: Becoming-Slave and Becoming-Free when Psyche isn't the Primary Value” (in Greek) In: Vavouras, I. (ed.) (2016) Philosophein: Episteme, Evnoia, Parrhesia v. 13. Available at: https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21ANU5RB9FLunDOqk&cid=D60DF1AF710FC282&id=D60DF1AF710FC282%21529&parId=D60DF1AF710FC282%21526&o=OneUp
Barcelona 29-31/01/2013 Bobcatsss 2014 Library (R)evolution: Promoting Sustainable Information Practices. “The Librarian's Equilibrium: Cycles and Epicycles, Centers and Epicenters of Information Revolution”. Available at http://proceedings.bobcatsss2014.hb.se/article/view/284/402
Ankara 23-24/01/2013 Bobcatsss 2013: From Collections to Connections: Turning Libraries “InsideOut” “Dialectic Relations of Nomadism and Idiotism in the Post-Modern Global Village: The New Form of 'City' in the Internet Space” Available at: http://www.bby.hacettepe.edu.tr/akademik/zehrataskin/file/bobcatsss(1).pdf#page=143
“Towards Human-Robot Ethnography: Two Short Lessons from iCub's Absence and Connectivity.” Self-published paper, originally an essay written for the needs of a course in Ethnography. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/33445977/Towards_Human-Robot_Ethnography_Two_Short_Lessons_from_iCubs_Absence_and_Connectivity
“Digital sampling in contemporary music: Ethical issues and dilemmas of 'loop digging.'” Self-published paper, originally an essay written for the needs of a course in Information Ethics. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/11337563/Digital_sampling_in_contemporary_music_Ethical_issues_and_dilemmas_of_loop_digging_
Presentations at Conferences/Symposia and Invited Talks
29/11/2019: "Journey into the AIknown: Experiential Questions Concerning Expanding Experts, Exponential Expectations, and Expatriated Researchers" Invited lecture for the Welfare Access Through Technology research group (WATT) at the Department of Social Work, Child Welfare and Social Policy at the Faculty of Social Sciences, OsloMet, Norway.
06/11/2019: "From Hysterical AI to Historical AI: Lessons from AI’s history, or, How to Survive a New AI Winter" Introductory talk prior to the AI Ethics & Society research group's screening of BBC TV’s June 1973 Lighthill Controversy Debate INSPACE, Informatics Forum, 1 Crichton St, University of Edinburgh.
04/09/2019: "The Inadequacy of Laboratory Studies and the Usefulness of Interviews in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics" Presentation at the panel Lab Studies Reloaded? Machine Learning, Ethnography, and Critical STS as part of 4S 2019, New Orleans, organised by the Society for Social Studies of Science.
20/05/2019: "Questions Concerning Fair Machines: AI ethics turning Japanese, I think they’re turning Japanese, I really think so (maybe)" Presentation at the panel Fair machines: Student perspective on Data Justice and Ethics (High School Yards Teaching Centre, G.02) as part of the Data Justice Week - with support from the Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) and the Centre for Research in Digital Education.
16/05/2019: "Journey into the AIknown: Hypes, Hopes, Horrors of the Singularity" Presentation at Merging Human and Machines: Not-So-Far-Futures, a series of brief presentations and facilitated panel Q&A delivered as part of the Scottish Government's Learning at Work Week, hosted by Robert Pembleton and organised by Dave McNab.
09/05/2019: "Journey into the AIknown: Experiential Questions Concerning Expanding Experts, Exponential Expectations, and Expatriated Researchers" Presentation at the 2019 STIS/ISSTI PhD Days at St Cecilia’s Hall - Concert Hall, Edinburgh, 9-10 May 2019.
29/03/2019: "Beyond Robodemons and AIngels: Expanding Expertise, Extreme Expectations, Polarised Promises, Hypes, Hopes, Horrors from the Early Steps of AI to the Singularity." Invited lecture at the seminar AI: Demon or Angel. The Singularity, part of the Controversies in the Data Society seminar series, organised by Dr James Stewart with the support of the Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI).
22/03/2019: "Beyond Robodemons and AIngels: Expanding Expertise, Extreme Expectations, Polarised Promises, Hypes, Hopes, Horrors from the Early Steps of AI to the Singularity." Invited talk at the panel Is the Hype in A.I. Justified?, chaired by Dr James Stewart and organised by Jonathan Smellie, together with Dr Guido Sanguinetti, Dr Ben Alison, and Dr Ian Poole, Friday 22nd March 2019, Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh.
17/12/2018: “Exploring expanding expertise: artificial intelligence as an existential threat and the role of prestigious commentators, 2014–2018.” Presentation at the Science in Public 2018 Conference Monday 17th to Wednesday 19th December, Cardiff University.
16/07/2018: “Reflections on the Uncanny Valley.” Presentation at the Uncanny Bodies Workshop (co-organised by Dr Gill Haddow), 16-17 July 2018, Edinburgh.
28/06/2018: “The Moral Question Concerning Sex (and) Robots: Nonhuman Liberation from Viral Diseases or Ultimate Objectification?” Presentation at the Sex, Death, Disease, and Conflict: The State and Morality 1864-1964 symposium Thursday 28th June 2018, Newcastle University.
18/05/2018: “Extreme Expectations and Expanding Expertise in Policy Documents Concerned with Artificial Intelligence in the UK, US, and EU: A Preliminary Taxonomy, and an Invitation for Empirical Work.” Presentation at the Technology and Innovation Management session at the 24th Annual SPRU PhD Forum, 17-18 May 2018, University of Sussex. (An expanded version of this presentation is forthcoming as a paper in Technology Analysis and Strategic Mangement).
19/02/2018: “The Luciferian Nature of Information and the Informational Nature of Lucifer: A Discordian Understanding of the Cryptic Resurgence of Satanic Principles in the Information Age.” Presentation at The Postmodern Occult: A Witchcraft Symposium, University of Edinburgh.
05-06/12/2017: “Sociology of Extreme Expectations: The Case of Artificial Intelligence”. Poster presented at PACTMAN: Trust, Privacy and Consent in Future Pervasive Environments (EPSRC-funded project on Trust, Identity, Privacy and Security in the Digital Economy.)
Other Related Activities
18/11/2019: Inviting and chairing the talk "Botanic Gardens: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?" by David Ingram as part of the STIS Seminar Series, at Violet Laidlaw Room, Crystal Macmillan Building, University of Edinburgh.
06/11/2019: How to Survive a New AI Winter: Lessons from AI’s history (Screening of the BBC TV debate between John McCarthy, Donald Michie, Richard Gregory, and Sir James Lighthill). Part of AI Ethics and Society research group, INSPACE, Informatics Forum, 1 Crichton St. University of Edinburgh.
04/04/2019: Screening of a theatrical performance of R.U.R.: Rossum's Universal Robots by Karel Čapek and moderation of follow-up discussion on dystopian futures and promissory fallacies of AI. Part of AI Ethics and Society reading/discussion group organised by Sarah Bennett, Thursday 4th April 2019, Newhaven Lecture Theatre, University of Edinburgh.
January-June 2018: Co-establishment with Dr Stephen Harwood (Business School) and Lukas Engelmann (STIS) of the Cybernetics Today reading group, which ran for 5 sessions during the second term and led to the emergence of an interdisciplinary cluster expected to facilitate more activities in the future.
01/06/2019-ongoing: I have been submitting 2-page black-and-white comics of nonlinear narrative to the bimonthly sociological, political, and artistic magazine Yusra [ISSN 2653-9438, in Greek] https://www.facebook.com/yusra.magazine/
INSPACE, Informatics Forum, 1 Crichton St.