Machine Listening

Free Public Lecture

Machine Listening

Panel: From Siri to state surveillance, machine listening is playing an increasingly central role in modern life. But what will it mean to live in a world of ubiquitous over-hearing, and how will this new field of science and technology affect how we inhabit our sonic environments?

Join Art Institute of Chicago Associate Professor Seth Kim-Cohen, Liquid Architecture artistic director Joel Stern, University of Victoria Associate Professor Sara Ramshaw and MLS Senior Lecturer Dr James Parker in a panel discussion about the aesthetic, philosophical, moral, legal and political implications of networked machine listening.

Art Installation: Always Learning (2018) by Sean Dockray

Always Learning stages an increasingly reflexive conversation between three devices – an Amazon Echo, a Google Home Assistant, and an Apple Homepod – and invites us to consider the possible implications of autonomic computing, the rise of voice operation and our increasing comfort levels with devices that listen by default. Electronic personal assistants, Dockray suggests, are just the kindergarten for a vast corporate listening apparatus – an algorithmic ‘panacousticon’ – the effects of which we should not expect to be benign.

Always Learning will be exhibited at the Melbourne Law School, as part of the Digital Citizens Conference.


  • Associate Professor Sara Ramshaw
    Associate Professor Sara Ramshaw, University of Victoria
  • Associate Professor Seth Kim-Cohen
    Associate Professor Seth Kim-Cohen, School of Art Institute Chicago
  • Mr Joel Stern
    Mr Joel Stern, Artistic Director
  • Dr James Parker
    Dr James Parker, Senior Lecturer