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Dialogue and Becoming: Technologies, Agencies, and Ways of Relating

The 2017 International Association for Dialogue Analysis (IADA) conference will be held from Sept. 25th -28th , 2018 at Chinese Culture University, Taipei, TAIWAN. The partners in the organization of this event are the Department of Journalism, Chinese Culture University, Graduate Institute of Mass Communication, National Taiwan Normal University, and International Association for Dialogue Analysis.

We now live in an environment where many of our dialogues and interactions are facilitated, actualized, virtualized, augmented, or completed by and through communication technologies and online platforms. Humans go online not only to interact with other human beings, but also to interact with information and data. In many contexts, we now achieve dialogical communication by integrating technologies and information, using or creatively appropriating various platforms (e.g. Castells, 2007; Dahlberg, 2007; Fuchs & Obrist, 2010, Papacharissi, 2015).

We also come to a gradual realization that environments and technologies, be they digital or analog, biological or mechanical, material or immaterial, serve more than as surroundings or facilitating arrangements, but also as participants in social-making activities when we pay attentions to their agencies. Information and data are never neutral accumulation or mechanical calculation but modern forms of storytelling with specific utterance positions (Papacharissi, 2015). Contradictions and conflicts between technologies and humans can thus be observed and documented throughout modern history from a critical perspective (e.g. Fuchs & Obrist, 2010).

On the other hand, human agencies can also participate in and change the identities of machines/technologies. To achieve higher (artificial) intelligence, uncertainty, as one of the distinctive human traits, can be incorporated into probability models, so that machines can acquire self-learning abilities through interactions, allowing themselves to change and evolve dialogically (Russell, 2014; Russel & Novig, 2014). Different agencies with their different capabilities and structural positions create different ways of relating and dialoguing, which leads to different degrees and scopes of reflexivity and connectedness. By speaking to/through/with/for other things and beings, we also allow ourselves to cross boundaries and (re)establish dialectical continuities, historically and politically.

This conference encourages scholars to study what happens when we expand the interlocutors of dialogue to non-humans (e.g. Butler, 2015; Caronia & Cooren, 2014; Haraway, 1991; Latour, 1987, 2005; Tannen, 2004) and more immaterial forms of agency (Derrida, 1994) to see how our human existence, cultures, and histories are/can be transformed when we relate to these participants. While transformations and changes are inherent in the dia/logos process among speaking subjects (e.g., Bohm, 1996), the heterogeneous interlocutors of our (post-)modern days can provide and reveal greater possibilities, creativities, and realized responsibilities once they are legitimized and included into dialogues.