Hosted by Eleanor Drage and Kerry Mackereth, The Good Robot is a podcast which explores the many complex intersections between gender, feminism and technology. In this episode, Eleanor and Kerry talk to Pedro Oliveira about voice recognition technologies and border control.
In this episode Eleanor and Kerry talk to Pedro Oliveira, a researcher and sound artist based at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. Pedro does amazing work investigating border control technologies that listen to asylum seekers and claim to be able to discern where they came from from the way they speak. In this episode we discuss why these kinds of technologies rely on the assumption that there is an authentic way that a migrant from a particular place should sound. Our quest to unravel vocal authenticity takes us through frequency, timbre, and 1960s synthesisers from East Berlin.
Listen to the episode here:
For the reading list and transcript for this episode, visit The Good Robot website.
Pedro Oliveira is a researcher, sound artist, and educator committed to an anticolonial study of listening within the violence of border work. He has previously worked as a Postdoctoral fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies; a lecturer in Musicology and Media Studies at the Humboldt-University Berlin; as well as a teaching and research associate in Media and Cultural Studies at the Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf. Artistic residencies include the Max-Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, and IASPIS/EMS, both in Stockholm. He is a founding member of the research platform Decolonising Design; he holds a PhD from the Universität der Künste Berlin, and an MA from the Hochschule für Künste Bremen.
Read some of Pedro’s work here.
Dr Eleanor Drage and Dr Kerry Mackereth are Research Associates at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, where they work on the Mercator-Stiflung funded project on Desirable Digitalisation. Previously, they were Christina Gaw Postdoctoral Researchers in Gender and Technology at the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies. During the COVID-19 pandemic they decided to co-found The Good Robot Podcast to explore the many complex intersections between gender, feminism and technology.