< Winter Conference 2024

Winter Conference 2024 Workshop

(Generative) Artificial Intelligence and Political Communication – Quo Vadis?

Artificial intelligence is changing communication – and our study thereof. Politicians and public figures increasingly employ generative AI to produce text, visuals, to make decisions and to run campaigns. But also, our research of these processes is impacted. Machine Learning (ML) and Large Language Models (LLM) have entered our methodological toolbox, and we are learning to navigate new data types and analytical possibilities. This workshop intends to provide a space to reflect on these developments, to pool our experience and to create a vision board for future research avenues.

The leading questions and themes of the workshop are:

  1. The Impact of AI on Methods: How are social science methods changing in recent years when it comes to our study of political communication? Which new opportunities are created through the incorporation of AI into our analyses? What approaches should we give more attention to? Are there any methodological advancements in other disciplines that might translate into (political) communication research What are emerging trends? And where are we heading?
  2. The Use of (Generative) AI by Political and Public Actors: Which aspects of this topic are explored by researchers currently? What new practices are still underexplored? What opportunities and problems are emerging with this? And, again, what future shifts should we, as researchers, prepare for?
  3. Social Consequences of AI in Public Communication: Do we see any developments in other fields of the social science and humanities that relate to political communication? For example, how do these developments impact citizens and their consumption, creation and interpretation of (political) information? This question especially invites participants who do not identify as communication researchers yet might see issues that should be raised in that context. Are there any aspects we might not have considered (enough)?

Practically, the workshop is structured into two sub-sessions. First, participants will be part of structured discussion rounds on the three central topics listed above. This first round of discussions is reflection oriented – what do we know and where are we. In a next step, we will create a vision board of where the discipline might be heading, which trends we want to observe closer. This second step entails an interactive session of creative brainstorming and visualization of our ideas. The vision board is supposed to be an inspiration and reference for future collaboration especially for those collogues who (soon) apply for postdoctoral positions. 

Requitements for Participation

There are no formal requirements to participate in this workshop. What we ask for is an open mind and creative thinking.

Background and Target Group

Broadly speaking, political communication refers to the study of “purposeful communication about politics” (McNair 2011, p. 4) which includes both communication by political actors, communication addressed to political actors, and communication about political actors and their activities (ibid.). In our workshop we welcome all those who identify with the discipline but also early career researchers who see an impact on social and public communication (as defined above) from the point of their own discipline. In case of too many applications, we will strive for a balance of participants from within and outside the field.

Organizing Committee

Sophie Mainz, PhD Candidate in Political Science, Uppsala University

Emelie Karlsson, PhD Candidate in Political Science, Uppsala University

If you have any questions or reflections, please reach out to the organizing committee!