Thursday 29 June, 10am - 4pm

Location: School of Digital Arts (SODA)

Event Type: In-person

Price: Free


The Stories + Machines series at the School of Digital Arts (SODA) will consider the unstable relationships between AI generative media and the storytellers and artists that adopt them. Importantly the series links the growing storytelling cultures related to generative AI (in particular, virtual production) to critical and philosophical concerns and traditions by bringing together a diverse set of voices from the arts, industry and academia. The series will take place once a year.

Synthetic Histories and Futures

In the first symposium of the series, we invite academics, storytellers, curators, artists and specialists in the digital creative industries to discuss synthetic histories and their futures. How should storytellers imagine a future with generative tools that are and are not limited by human history? In one sense, history absolutely limits generative AI. The use of the English-speaking media’s online archive as the mainstay of training corpora invisibly prescribes the scope and diversity of generative AI’s creative potential. How does this limit the stories generative AI tells and who it can tell stories for? In another sense, increasingly powerful generative production methods will allow for synthetic media to easily permeate historical narratives, eroding the aesthetic and philosophical limits between authentic and synthetic. Trustworthy histories will be increasingly difficult to fathom. Finally, the historical narratives surrounding AI and non-human intelligence itself prescribe a future steeped in the effects of an AI takeover. With such histories, how should AI storytellers imagine the future? In this symposium, we explore these tensions to better understand the evolving role of synthetic histories in shaping our collective future.

Event Schedule

9.30am: Registration, refreshments and networking

10am: Introductions

10.15am: Keynote 1

  • Eva Jäger, Serpentine Galleries Creative AI Lab Tooling: Modes of Engagement with Machine Intelligences

11am: Panel discussion

  • New technologies, new voices?

Our panel, made up of speakers from SODA alongside experts the arts and media, discusses the new voices using AI to tell stories differently through generative AI technologies. To what extent does it represent a diversification or consolidation of storyteller perspectives?

12.30pm: Lunch

1.15pm: Panel discussion

  • Under the AI gaze

Speakers discuss the rapidly shifting creative relationship between generative AIs and artists. What are the new creative practices to emerge and how do the arts and their audience come to terms with shifts in authorship? How does practice, under the gaze of the machine, change the narratives surrounding art and creative production?

2.45pm: Keynote 2

  • Lance Weiler, Digital Storytelling Labs, Columbia University: Future of Storytelling with Artificial Intelligences

3.30pm: Networking

4pm: Close