INDL-2 Conference: Robotize This! (Toronto, October 3rd, 2019)

Robotize this! The futures of automation and work


International Conference, Thursday October 3rd, 9AM to 6PM

McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology

39A Queens Park Crescent East, University of Toronto


Are robots coming for our jobs? The current resurgence of anxiety around automation seems to suggest they are. But other symptoms point out that robots will rather make us work more, and in new ways. And then, what kind of jobs, and what kind of robots? The robotization of traditionally gendered and racialized forms of work is not neutral. And robots will better learn to collaborate with workers if capital is to keep extracting value from living labour. This international conference will discuss the past, present, and many possible futures of automation. This needs to be approached from many different angles. Our human speakers come from media studies, engineering, technology studies, literature, and labour studies. The day will be opened by an international graduate colloquium on digital labour. We will also pay a visit to robots and do our best to befriend them.

The workshop is a collaboration between the International Network on Digital Labor, which is funded by a University of Toronto – CNRS Joint Research Proposal Grant, and the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology.


Sign up at this link:  


Attendance to the event is limited. Priority will be given to graduate students and faculty members researching work and digital technology. Tickets will be confirmed two weeks prior to the conference.




9:00 AM to 09:30 PM: Welcome and Coffee


9:30 AM to 12:30 PM: Graduate Colloquium on Digital Labour  


Sana Ahmad, Weizenbaum Institute.

  • Guardians of the Internet – Analysing the Social Media Moderation Industry and Offshored Work Processes in India

Marcelo Castro, University of Toronto

  • The Emergence and Rise of Platform Cooperatives: Elements for Transformation of the Sharing Economy

Ellen Kaufman, Indiana University

  • Digital Intimacy and the Future of (Sex) Work

Zachary La Rock, University of Chicago

  • Trapped in Motion? Situating Risk and Value in the Last Mile of Logistics Subcontracting

Sarah Marquis, University of Guelph

  • Social Impacts of Digital Precision Agriculture Technologies in a Canadian Context

Elinor Wahal, Telecom Paris

  • Sociability and Collaboration in a Digital Labour Platform


Greig de Peuter, Wilfrid Laurier University

Sarah Sharma, University of Toronto 


Julian Posada, University of Toronto

Brendan Smith, University of Toronto


12:30 PM to 2:00 PM: Lunch Break


2 PM to 5 PM: Workshop “Robotize This!”


Shane Saunderson, University of Toronto

  • Social robots: Your future coworkers

Antonio Casilli, Paris School of Telecommunications

  • We are the robots: the online workers who make AI (im)possible

Frauke Zeller, Ryerson University

  • What we can learn from a hitchhiking robot when talking about robot co-workers

Greg Albo, York University

  • From the great automation scare to postcapitalism

Jennifer Rhee, Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Labor, gender, and the robotic imaginary


Paola Tubaro, CNRS Paris

Alessandro Delfanti, University of Toronto

INDL-2 Conference: Robotize This! (Toronto, October 3rd, 2019)

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