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Frankfurter Buchmesse panel / Premiere at the SXSW Festival in Texas

When artificial intelligence (AI) meets culture and society, many ethical questions arise. Who needs psychological counselling: robots or people? Who should define the ethical guidelines for AI? How can we avoid creating manipulative technologies?

These are some of the topics addressed in the expert talk “Robopsychology and Ethics in AI” with Prof Martina Mara, researcher and robopsychologist at Johannes Kepler University Linz and member of the Austrian Council on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. She will be interviewed by Holger Volland, tech writer and Vice President of Frankfurter Buchmesse (16-20 October 2019). The expert talk will be held as part of the SXSW Conference and Festivals (8-17 March 2019) in Austin, Texas. SXSW combines festivals and conferences in the fields of music, film and digital media. With this panel Frankfurter Buchmesse makes its debut at the popular event for creative professionals from all over the world.

“We need to demystify and democratise AI”, according to Prof Martina Mara. “In order to achieve advances in people-oriented AI, we need an informed public debate that turns away from science fiction.”

Holger Volland, author of the book Die kreative Macht der Maschinen [“The Creative Power of Machines”] (Beltz Verlag) adds: “AI is already influencing our culture and art. It’s time for cultural institutions and creatives to participate in the discussion about the digital future of the world.”

Event date
"Robopsychology and AI Culture" – expert talk
Venue: German Haus (Center Stage), Graeber House, 410 East 6th Street, Austin, TX 78701
Date: 10 March 2019, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
The event is organised by Frankfurter Buchmesse, with financial support from the Federal Foreign Office. It is part of “German Stories”, the collective theme of the book fair’s appearances abroad. Event partner: THE ARTS+ in a new window).

The German Haus is the main venue of the joint German presentation at SXSW and will host a myriad of carefully curated networking events, start-up formats, presentations, roundtables, as well as interdisciplinary performances and concerts from 9-14 March 2019. More information: in a new window)

Event registration: (opens in a new window)

CV Prof Martina Mara
Martina Mara is an Austrian robopsychologist and expert on human-robot relationships. After over a decade of working for applied R&D organisations such as the Ars Electronica Futurelab and Institute of Design Research Vienna, in April 2018 she became professor of robopsychology at Johannes Kepler University Linz. She earned a doctorate in psychology at the University Koblenz-Landau with a dissertation on user acceptance of anthropomorphic machines. Her current research interests include public attitudes towards robotics and AI, as well as the psychological effects of the simulated human likeness of collaborating robots. Martina Mara is a member of the Austrian Council on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ( in a new window)) as well as a member of the board of the Ludwig Boltzmann Society. In her column “Schöne neue Welt” (“Brave New World”) in the newspaper Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, she writes regularly about critical or humorous aspects of technology in everyday life.

CV Holger Volland
Holger Volland is a German tech writer, keynote speaker and expert on the digital transformation of culture and art. He is Vice President of Frankfurter Buchmesse and head of the book fair’s office in Beijing. In 2016, he founded THE ARTS+, a think-tank event for technology in culture. As an author (Die kreative Kraft der Maschinen [“The Creative Power of Machines”], Beltz Verlag), he has written about the topic of interactions between artificial intelligence and culture. Over the course of his career, Holger has come to be known as someone building bridges between the business and creative sectors. His expertise in developing digital business models has helped numerous companies and organisations. Prior to joining Frankfurter Buchmesse, Holger Volland was head of marketing and communications at the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association) and head of brand communications at MetaDesign AG. Before that, he was Managing Director of Leipziger & Partner, a digital marketing and communications consultancy which he founded in Berlin. He has held positions in radio, television, online development and design and has curated numerous exhibitions in Buenos Aires und Berlin.


About Frankfurter Buchmesse

Frankfurter Buchmesse is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with over 7,500 exhibitors from 109 countries, around 285,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and some 10,000 accredited journalists and bloggers in attendance. It is the most important international marketplace for content – from novels and children’s books to academic databases and stories for films, games and virtual reality experiences. Publishing professionals from around the world meet here with partners from the technology sector and from related creative and cultural industries, sparking new partnerships and business models. A strong conference programme ensures that Frankfurter Buchmesse is a major source of inspiration for content experts from around the world. Since 1976, the book fair has featured an annual Guest of Honour country, which showcases its book market, literature and culture to attendees in a variety of ways. Frankfurter Buchmesse organises the participation of German publishers at around 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. Frankfurter Buchmesse is a subsidiary of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association). in a new window)


Contact for the media:

Press & Corporate Communication, Frankfurter Buchmesse
Katja Böhne, Vice President Marketing & Communications, Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-138(opens in a new window), in a new window)
Kathrin Grün, Head of Communications, Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-170(opens in a new window), in a new window)
Frank Krings, PR Manager, Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-107(opens in a new window), in a new window)

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