Tamara Gupper

PhD student in Social and Cultural Anthropology | Computer Scientist in the making | Humanoid Robotics and AI | she/her


Let’s Address the Humans

Feb 14, 2022

When reading media articles about artificial intelligence, one easily gets the impression that AI is somewhat independent of humans. The successes of AI are hailed, including its dominance over humans in games like chess or Go, or its power to analyze data faster, cheaper and more accurate than humans. I have the impression that in many articles and discussions about AI, notions of the future are readable between the lines – either dystopian or utopian, and yet of an entity which is on the brink of outpacing humans.

What is often not present in this discussion is the fact that AI does not develop magically all on its own, but like any other software product, is written by people. These people are mostly not addressed in the general discussion about AI. Their work and their perspective on the technology often remains invisible. I argue that this is damaging to a productive discussion on AI because it inhibits us from recognizing ways in which to influence our future with this technology.

If you are interested in this topic, come and join my panel “Addressing the Humans behind AI and Robotics” at the RAI conference “Anthropology, AI and the Future of Human Society” in June 2022. The CfP is still open until February 25, so if you work on this topic, I’d be happy to receive your abstract! Please find more information here.

Beyond Tales of Heroism - On Safety in Fieldwork

Dec 6, 2021

One of the topics that I have been working on quite intensively in the past months is that of safety in (ethnographic) fieldwork. During and after the fieldwork for my masters’ thesis, I realized that safety is often not given the priority status it deserves. In cultural anthropology, the myth of having to suffer through fieldwork as an initiation rite to the discipline persists stubbornly, even though it is by far no longer in keeping with the times.

As a first step to address this issue, Laura Thurmann, Kira Kreft and I organized a workshop for students of cultural anthropology at Goethe University Frankfurt, which took place on the 26th and 27th of November. We really couldn’t be happier with the result, these months of hard work definitely paid off!

The workshop is based on the assumption that notions of “dangerous places” or “dangerous people” are too generalizing and deepen stereotypes. However, there are dangerous situations which are anchored in their respective context. Reflecting on this context, including on one’s positionality and the vulnerabilities it entails, is a crucial step in preparing for a research stay that is not only insightful, but also prioritizes our physical and mental health.

Laura, Kira and I definitely want to take this project further, so stay tuned!

Welcome to my blog!

Nov 12, 2021


I am very excited that my website is finally online! On this page, you will find short blog posts on things that I find interesting. Some posts are already being planned, on topics including generative art, safety in ethnographic fieldwork, and - of course - robots.

Stay tuned!