TURING ARTS SYMPOSIUM 2012 within the AISB/IACAP WORLD CONGRESS 2012 in honour of Alan Turing

Organised by: Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB) [http://www.aisb.org.uk] and The International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP) and The Turing Arts Group (TAG) University of New England, Australia




The World Congress serves both as the year's AISB Convention and the year's IACAP conference. The Congress has been inspired by a desire to honour Alan Turing, and by the broad and deep significance of Turing's work to AI, to the philosophical ramifications of computing, and to philosophy and computing more generally. The Congress is one of the events forming the Alan Turing Year (http://www.mathcomp.leeds.ac.uk/turing2012/).

The intent of the Congress is to stimulate a particularly rich interchange between AI and Philosophy on any areas of mutual interest, whether directly addressing Turing's own research output or not. The Congress will consist mainly of a number of collocated Symposia on specific research areas, interspersed with Congress-wide refreshment breaks, social events and invited Plenary Talks. All papers other than the invited Plenaries will be given within Symposia. The Turing Arts Symposium 2012 call for papers is below.

Turing Arts Symposium 2012

Date & Location

6th July 2012 at the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK,
[CPD Wolfson Centre]

Keynote Speaker: Clare Beavan

Director of the docudrama "Britain's Greatest Codebreaker" about Alan Turing broadcast on Ch 4 in the UK in 2011.

Turing Arts Symposium Organisers and Program Committee

Cate Dowd Chair of the Turing Arts Symposium. School of Arts (Media Studies) University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia.

Klem James School of Arts (French) University of New England, Armidale, NSW.

Adrian Kiernander School of Arts (Theatre) UNE, Armidale, NSW, University of New England, NSW, Australia

Ioan Despi School of Science & Technology (Computer Science and IT and Mathematics and Statistics) at UNE, Armidale, NSW.

Kathy Cleland - (program committee)

Deb Verhoeven - (program committee)

Bill Blakie - (program committee)

Kevin Brophy (program committee)

James Boaden (program committee)

Russell Goodwin (program committee)

Declan Humphries (program committee)

Turing Arts Symposium Online



The Turing Arts symposium 2012 will grow connections between the Turing Test, Artificial Intelligence, Turing and the Arts. The symposium is calling for Surrealist posters, short performance pieces based on the play RUR (Rossum's Universal Robots), and scholarly papers that open up links to Turing and Turing ideas via classic Sci-Fi films. The accepted works will be at the intersections of drama, virtual identities, Surrealism, media, emotions and androids. The symposium welcomes articulation of the differences between androids, robots and agents and creative interpretations of Turing himself. Contributors are encouraged to explore the similarities and differences between machines and humans in the core arts areas suggested i.e. Surrealism, Film and the drama of RUR. The Turing Test and the imitation game are explained in the following way:

In a paper called Computing Machinery and Intelligence published in the journal "Mind" (1950), Alan Turing proposed a test to find out if a computer can "think" or not, in a sense of "think" that will evolve over time. To avoid the traps of intelligence definitions Turing replaced the original question with a concrete test that depends entirely on observable behaviour. Various versions of the test are possible, but in a commonly accepted version a machine engages, along with a human, in short conversations via typed messages with human interrogators. The machine tries to appear human. If the interrogators cannot sufficiently often tell which entity in a conversation is the human and which the machine, then the machine can be said to be a thinking machine.

The following sections provide the scope and submission details to explore new links between Arts and Turing (and related ideas). Submissions should indicate one of these sections. The papers, posters and performance proposals may also include::

Section 1 SURREALISM (Art and theory)

The Surrealism section of the symposium opens up discussion and visualizations of man/machine similarities and differences in select art works of surrealism e.g. Matta 1938) and Massurrealism of the 21st century. Submitted works must include short papers and posters that show connections between surrealism and Turing related ideas.

Posters in the Surrealism and Massurrealism section may also include artist’s own works and an associated scholarly short paper, or theoretical work. We are looking for links to any of the following: biomechanical forms, hybrids, automata, automatic writing (free association), transgression and Turing, objets à fonctionnement symbolique (objects with a symbolic function) and emotions.

Short papers in this section must conform to the 2-pages IEEE format and posters should be produced in a digital format (see submission details for specifications).

Section 2 FILM (Media and theory)

The film section of the Turing Arts symposium is an opportunity for scholarly papers that explore the similarities and differences between machines and humans in context of Turing’s ideas (see overview above), and which are reflected in major Science Fiction films of the 20th century. These films could include: Metropolis (1927), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Blade Runner (1982), but are not limited to these.

Full paper submissions will need to discuss one or more Sci-Fi films in context of Turing’s ideas and articulate the differences between Androids, robots and/or agents. We welcome papers that make new contributions in this section from film (media) and Computer Science intersections, including complex systems.

Section 3 RUR DRAMA (Performance and Adaptation)

The play RUR (Rossum’s Universal Robots) was written in 1921 by Karel Capek. Alan Turing at this time would have been 9 years old. Did Turing ever see this play or know about it? The play is a dialogue of interactions between robots and their human creators. It raises multiple philosophical issues associated with the functions and nature of robots compared to humans. The play reflects industrialisation and automation at the start of the 20th century. In several instances proof of difference between robots and humans is sorted in the ‘dissection room’ - this is comic and entertaining. In the end the robots are the only ones left.

The Turing Arts Symposium is calling for ‘happenings’ and short performances with associated short papers and/or posters based on the RUR play. The ‘happenings’ will be 8-12 minutes and short performances 20-25 minutes. Submissions must be accompanied by a proposal and related papers need to conform to the 2-pages IEEE standard.

Papers and posters should make links between, robots, virtual identities, emotions, Turing and/or the Turing Test. We also welcome any explicit links discovered via your research between Turing and the play RUR, if any at all. Link to RUR script here

Please see the RUR proposal form for submission requirements (bottom of page). Submissions also need to include a short clip (Approx 5-10 minutes) of a previous performance. The ‘happenings’ in the Turing Arts Symposium will be dispersed throughout the Turing Congress 2012. They will be short, discrete, theatrical happenings based on excerpts from the play RUR. Longer performances (20-25 minutes) will be in a dedicated space.

Submission and Publication Details - Deadlines for papers and proposals REVISED - 11th March.

  Important Dates - REVISED - EXTENDED  
Submission deadline: Sunday 8th April 2012
Notification of acceptance: Monday 30th April 2012

Final versions and camera ready copy due for publication: Friday 1st June 2012

World Congress in honour of Alan Turing: 2nd - 6th July 2012

Turing Arts Symposium 6th July

A submission must indicate a topic area in the following categories:

1. Surrealism, Massurrealism and Turing concepts: short papers and posters or full papers
2. Science Fiction Film(s) and Turing Links: full papers
3. RUR and Turing ideas: short papers and performance proposals

Poster & Paper Specifications
Performance Proposals
Short papers: 2 pages Abstract length: 150-200 words

See the form at the bottom of this page - to be completed for 'happenings' and short performances adapted from RUR play

Full papers: 6-8 pages Extended abstract length: 300-600 words
Poster dimensions: A1 Abstract length: 150-200 words

Please use any IEEE template guide for both short and full papers. Powerpoint can be used for creating posters. The output file should be a PDF file. Posters accepted for the Turing Arts Symposium 2012 need to be printed by the submitter(s). All submissions should be sent to Dr Cate Dowd by email: cdowd2@une.edu.au (word files only). Each submission will be peer reviewed by 3 Academics.

There will be separate proceedings for each symposium, produced before the Congress. Each delegate at the World Congress will receive, on arrival, a memory stick containing the proceedings of all symposia.

Plenary Speakers for the World Congress 2012:

Sir John Dermot Turing

Honorary President of the Turing Centenary Advisory Committee, 12th Baronet of Foveran; Partner, Clifford Chance, London; son of Sir John Turing, and nephew of Alan Turing

Colin Allen Provost Professor of Cognitive Science and of History & Philosophy of Science Department of Philosophy and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA

Luciano Floridi Research Chair in Philosophy of Information and UNESCO Chair of Information and Computer Ethics University of Hertfordshire, UK Director, Information Ethics Research Group and Fellow of St Cross College University of Oxford, UK

Aaron Sloman Honorary Professor, School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK

Blay Whitby Department of Informatics, University of Sussex, UK


- - - RUR performance and happening submissions must include the following proposal form complete with details - - -

Copy and paste this form into word (complete the details, save as a .pdf file and email to cdowd2@une.edu.au with submission)

Title of Performance:


Performance email contact:




Theatre experience:



Nominated pages/Act or concept from RUR script for performance:



Link to RUR script here: http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/capek/karel/rur/


Please indicate length of performance: 8-12 minutes or 20-25 minutes


Number of performers: (limited to 6 actors per group).







Performance suitable for open space without lighting or preferable in lecture style theatre with limited lighting (please specify):


Stagecraft and props of any kind should be small and portable and managed by each performance group.


Technology requirements such as projectors or audio (please specify):

Projector and computer only:

Audio only via computer (small extended speakers):

Internet Connectivity:

Single light spot:

Technology may be limited, and is not guaranteed.

Poster to accompany submission:


Please note: Performances will not be accepted without short papers and proposal submitted prior to the event. The short papers need to be camera ready for publication. See deadlines above.


Site design: Cate Dowd