ECSM Keynote Speaker and Panel Outlines

The following are outlines for the Keynote Speeches which will take place at ECSM 2024.

Establishing trust in an AI-driven economy

Led by: Dr Martin de Saulles 

AI is accelerating content creation across the web and social media platforms. The ability of generative AI (GenAI) to produce text, images, audio and video at scale and low cost will transform how information is generated, distributed and consumed. A challenge for existing information producers will be to maintain visibility and contact with their audiences in a rapidly growing sea of content. At the other end of the information pipeline, consumers will need to find new ways to discern fact from fiction. This talk explores these challenges and the ways that content creators, technology vendors and policy makers are addressing them. Establishing and maintaining trust in this emerging AI-generated content environment will become an increasingly valued commodity.

Return to Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Social Media

Led by: Dr Tony Sampson.

This talk will revisit the author’s Virality thesis (Sampson, 2012, 2020) in the context of contemporary social media cultures. Drawing on interdisciplinary approaches, virality will be framed as a cultural phenomenon and dominant mode of communication and social interaction, which has seemingly moved from an initial biological context to become a key concept in understanding the spread of information, ideas, and emotions. The talk will trace virality back to 19th century sociology, and subsequent debates concerning connected subjectivities, affective economies, marketing, and emerging viral politics. Ultimately Sampson will assess the potential of the concept of virality as a powerful force for both creativity and control, functioning within social networks that are mostly unpredictable and chaotic.