Who Speaks?

Virtual Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Language, and Democracy

November 09, 2020; 11:00 – 18:00Youtube Channel Royal Academy of Art (KABK)

A thriving democracy is based on informed debate and involves a wide range of language-based interactions. In fact, the term parliament itself comes from the French word parler (to talk / speak). Deliberation and debate in both public and private spaces are at the core of both democratic processes and personal liberties. Voting is based on language, whether on the physical ballot, during the election campaign or simply by formulating voting and election laws. Language permits ideas to circulate freely, and is part of the very DNA of political processes.

Who Speaks? is a project collaboration between the Non Linear Narrative Master’s programme of the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, University College London and Camberwell College of Arts (CCW / University of the Arts London) with the Analysis and Research Department (DAO) of the Dutch Parliament. It manifests itself in the form of a one-day international symposium and a semester-long study programme that investigates how artificial intelligence influences democracy by means of language. During its course, Who Speaks? welcomes notable individuals from the digital rights movement, cyberlaw, political philosophy and investigative journalism in order to understand the decision-making processes behind artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The virtual symposium is organised as a Live broadcast via Youtube which brings together academic peers and Dutch policy makers for joint knowledge exchange and discussion on who has actually the final say in an AI driven democracy. Major issues addressed during three panel discussions, focus on algorithmic bias, surveillance technologies, fake news, online privacy rights, speech and text generation, search engine censoring and post-feminist computing. The panels have been organised as free–flowing dialogues.


Evelyn Austin, Bits of Freedom, Amsterdam
André Brock, School of Literature, Media and Communication, Atlanta
Ezekiel Dixon-Román, University of Pennsylvania
Bernard Keenan, Birkbeck, University of London
Jack Poulson, Tech Inquiry, Toronto
Helen Pritchard, Goldsmiths, University of London
Richard Rogers, University of Amsterdam

Location details

On 9 November 2020 the symposium will take place here. Admission to the event is free, but you are kindly requested to register via

Who Speaks? is an initiative by Niels Schrader, information designer and co-head Graphic Design and Non Linear Narrative at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, Dr Ramon Amaro, lecturer and researcher in the field of machine learning at University College London (formerly Goldsmiths), and Dr Sheena Calvert, lecturer in the areas of philosophy of language, politics and ethics in creative practice at Camberwell College of Arts (CCW / University of the Arts London). In 2019 they began collaborating together under the name Queer Computing Consortium (QCC). Who Speaks? is the first in a series of events and activities under development by the QCC.