Deus Ex Machina – Law – Technology – Humanities

Photo by Ukrainian artist Marjan Blan | @marjanblan on Unsplash

Deus Ex Machina – Law – Technology – Humanities

Law Literature and Humanities Association of Australasia Conference 2023

December 11-14, 2023 Queensland University of Technology, Gardens Point Campus, Brisbane Australia

Deus Ex Machina – the God in the Machine – captures something of the present. It has deep origins in Greek drama, referring to the physical crane through which gods appeared on the stage and the dramaturgical device through which plots become miraculously resolved. At a time of miraculous devices that create text and images, exercise public and private power, constrain and empower life and death, where what and who is human is slipping and hybridising, the sense of nomos – of normative order, of law, of permissions and restrictions on what should be and should not, of how the future can unfold – is critically urgent. How do we want the gods in the digital networks, supply chains and machines of life and death to be? Are we waiting for the miraculous thing – the killer app, the spontaneous revolt, the irredeemable crisis, the history changing device – for everything to be all right?

The humanities are the creative engine through which humans dream themselves and their shared complex world. They encompass the dreams of dreamers who know that they are dreaming;  watching the play, seeing the crane, yet seeing also the terrible god lifted into the narrative. Embedded and embodied, located and partial, the thinking, stories and concepts of the humanities, allows understanding of being human as lived in, rather than as measured and managed. If there is to be a sense of future that can be ordered, anticipated and planned, then it is essential for the humanities to creatively engage with the many gods in the machines. This is especially significant when time and history are becoming enclosed. The platforms of the digital, the user face of hungry AI feasting on data, freeze time. The data of the past forms structures that harden and constrain what can be in the future forming an ever-present where the past is recycled as the only future permissible in the code. History repeats, global powers animated by myths of past greatness talk and conduct war. Against this stagnation, violence and death, a better future needs to be reasserted.

This conference is a multidisciplinary collective endeavor focused on building, dreaming and working towards better futures through bringing the creativity, wisdom and critique of the humanities to law and technology. Supported by Law, Literature and Humanities Association of Australasia and the Human Technology Law Centre and the Law, Technology and Humans journal at the Queensland University of Technology School of Law it will be a crucible for diverse perspectives and approaches to the broadest conceptions of law and technology.

Call for Papers

Proposals for papers to be presented at Deus Ex Machina has now officially closed. However, as an open and inclusive conference we still welcome proposals and aim to include late proposals into the conference program. Proposals may relate to one of the distinct streams below but can also encompass any work in the law and humanities or the technology and humanities.

Conference Streams

  • Digital disruption and legal futures
  • Cultural legalities of corporate technologies
  • Jurisprudence of the future IV: Science fiction will make everything better
  • Disruptive legalities in more-than-human societies
  • Feminist legal scholarship to reimagine the world: A celebration
  • Uncovering the human: Exploring tax theory, invisible taxes, and tax impact on Aussie battlers
  • Archiving atrocities, archiving international justice
  • Crisis and critique: Critical responses to technological and other disasters
  • AI and the automation of criminal justice
  • Decolonial futures: Technologies of law and colonialism
  • The benefits and risks of brain-computer interface
  • Technology, sustainable development and legal education

Find out more about the Conference Streams.

Registration and Conference fees CLOSES 30 November 11:59pm

  • General Attendee – $396
  • PhD/Postgraduate Candidate – $198 (For candidates not in fulltime professional or academic employment or for recently graduated candidates still seeking fulltime employment).
  • Conference Dinner (The Jetty South Bank) – $120
[To purchase dinner tickets separately from registration, follow the QUTPay link, enter the special code ‘JELLYFISH’ then follow the ‘Create Booking’ and the ‘General Attendee’ links and the separate dinner option will be available.]

Register now via QUTPay.

Draft Program

We are very pleased to be able share the current draft program. Day Sessions Plans DEM23 DRAFT 27 Nov