New lecture series at ZeMKI: ComAI Lectures

The hype surrounding ChatGPT has brought it to the attention of the general public: Communicative AI – the spread of generative AI for the purpose of communication – is becoming increasingly widespread. But what exactly does it mean when machines become part of human communication relationships? How is social communication changing as a result? To what extent are the digital infrastructures of communicative AI a challenge for the environment and climate? What new types of human work will emerge with communicative AI – and which professions may disappear? What does all this mean for human practice and how is governance of communicative AI possible?

These are the questions we want to discuss together with international experts at the University of Bremen. The following speakers have been invited:

– November 21, 2023
Prof Dr Julia Velkova (Linköping University, Sweden):
“Greening the cloud: data and energy entanglements in friction”
18.00-20.00, Rotunde, Cartesium (also part of the FB9 sustainability lecture)

– November 28, 2023
Prof Dr Nick Couldry (LSE, Great Britain):
“AI as Knowledge Capture and Colonial Landgrab”
18.00-20.00, Rotunde, Cartesium

– December 05, 2023
Prof Dr David Gunkel (Northern Illinois University, USA)
“The Relational Turn: A Techno-Ethics for the 21st Century and Beyond”
18.00-20.00, SFG 1040

– 16 January 2024
Dr Arne Hintz (Cardiff University, United Kingdom):
“Deciding about Communicative AI: Governance, Participation and Social Justice”
18.00-20.00, Rotunde, Cartesium (also part of the FB9 Sustainability Lecture)

– January 30, 2024
Prof Dr Petter Bae Brandtzaeg (University of Oslo, Norway)
“The Future of Free Speech in an AI-Driven Society”
18.00-20.00, SFG 1040

We invite the interested public to attend the lecture series to discuss the socially highly relevant topic of Communicative Artificial Intelligence. The events will be held in English. All experts will be present in person in Bremen. If you are unable to attend in person for any reason, you have the option to participate online. To receive the access link, please write to:

For more information, please visit our website:








New website for the research network now online

After more than four years, the research network “Communicative Figurations” presents itself on a new website. In a total of five sections, the participating institutions and researchers introduce themselves and provide insights into the network’s current activities:

  • “Approach” provides a brief introduction to the theoretical basis of communicative figurations.
  • “News” contains the latest news from the research network.
  • Under “Publications”, selected publications from the network are listed, including in particular fundamental works on the approach, publications on individual topics as well as methodological publications.
  • Under “Projects” there are links to the growing number of research projects that work with the approach of the research network.
  • “Members” introduces researchers currently involved in the research network.

The new website can be reached via the addresses (in English) and (in German).

Open Access publication: From human-machine-communication to communicative AI

A research article on the automation of communication as a subject of communication and media research has been published in the journal Publizistik. The authors are Andreas Hepp, Wiebke Loosen, Stephan Dreyer, Juliane Jarke, Sigrid Kannengießer, Christian Katzenbach, Rainer Malaka, Michaela Pfadenhauer, Cornelius Puschmann and Wolfgang Schulz. The article is freely accessible.

The objective of this article is to define more precisely the field of research into the automation of communication, which is currently only vaguely discernible. The central thesis is that, in order to be able to grasp the transformation of the media environment associated with the automation of communication, the view must be broadened from the “direct interaction of humans and machines” to “societal communication”. Broadening our perspective as such allows us to ask how the dynamics of societal communication as a whole change when “communicative AI” becomes part of societal communication. To support this thesis, the article first takes a closer look at the automation of communication as a phenomenon. Against this background, the concept of communicative AI is then developed in more detail as a “sensitizing concept” that sensitizes to both the breadth and depth of the phenomenon. On this basis, the bridging concept of the “hybrid figuration” is developed in order to grasp the agency of communicative AI and to be able to connect to “definitive concepts” of social science and media and communication research. It becomes apparent that with communicative AI as a field of research, the basic concepts of communication and media research—“communication” and “media”—are themselves challenged. The article is concluded by a conclusion that shows the research perspectives resulting from such an approach.

Full text (in German language)

Lecture by KoFi member Andreas Hepp about “Agile social experiments and pioneer journalism” at workshop “Fairdienste: Science-Practice-Dialogue”


The talk, fully titled “Agile social experiments and pioneer journalism: experiences from a project on social cohesion and local public sphere”, is part of the workshop “Fairdienste: Science-Practice Dialogue.” The workshop takes a look at digital journalism as an exemplary field in which the plurality of social values is negotiated and which is simultaneously shaped by data-economic business models. Andreas Hepp will present from the project “Tinder the city“. Workshop and talk we be in German language.

New article (in German): “Zwischen Utopie und Dystopie: Wie der öffentliche Diskurs über die Maker und QuantifiedSelf Bewegung die Pioniergemeinschaften zu Treibern tiefgreifender Mediatisierung macht”

Kofi members Andreas hepp and Susan Benz together with Piet Simon published an article (in German) “Zwischen Utopie und Dystopie” in the current issue of the journal M&K Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft.

The article’s full title is “Zwischen Utopie und Dystopie: Wie der öffentliche Diskurs über die Maker und Quantified-Self-Bewegung die Pioniergemeinschaften zu Treibern tiefgreifender Mediatisierung macht” and can be downloaded here.

From the abstract (in German)

“Gegenstand dieses Beitrags ist eine vergleichende Diskursanalyse der Berichterstattungüber die Maker- und Quantified-Self-Bewegung in der deutschen und britischen (Online-)Presse für die Jahre 2007 bis 2019. Der Analyse liegt eine dreifache Fragestellungzugrunde: In welchem Umfang sind diese beiden Pioniergemeinschaften Gegenstand eines öffentlichen Diskurses? Welche Diskursmuster werden in der Berichterstattung über die Pioniergemeinschaften greifbar? Und was lässt sich hieraus für den Stellenwert einer solchen Berichterstattung für Prozesse der tiefgreifenden Mediatisierung folgern? Im Kern zeigt der Beitrag, dass – über beide Untersuchungsländer hinweg – der Diskurs um die Maker-Bewegung in der Tendenz utopisch orientiert ist, während der Diskurs um die Quantified-Self-Bewegung eher dystopisch orientiert ist. Gemeinsam ist beiden aber, dass Technologie ein hohes Potenzial für eine einseitige gesellschaftliche Veränderung unterstellt wird, was der „Kalifornischen Ideologie“ der San Francisco Bay Area entspricht. Allgemeingesellschaftlich wird so ein Imaginationshorizont konstruiert, in dem sich dann die Menschen im Alltag mit ihrer eigentlichen Aneignung von digitalen Medien- und Kommunikationstechnologien positionieren.”

New Working Paper (in German): “Die Figuration des Pionierjournalismus in Deutschland: Akteure, Experimentierbereiche, Dynamiken”


The article is entitled “Die Figuration des Pionierjournalismus in Deutschland: Akteure, Experimentierbereiche, Dynamiken” and can be downloaded here.

Further Communicative Figurations | ZeMKI Working Papers can be accessed here.