ProjectRHETAI – Center for Rhetorical Science Communication on Artificial Intelligence

Basic data

Center for Rhetorical Science Communication on Artificial Intelligence
01/10/2021 to 30/09/2026
Abstract / short description:
advances in AI research, fascination and enthusiasm for new developments in robotics and intelligent systems are colliding with doubts, skepticism and fear in public debates. The Center for Rhetorical Science Communication Research on Artificial Intelligence (RHET AI) will take both this fascination and concern seriously, investigating the structure of discourses and debates on the topic of AI from a rhetorical perspective: Which narratives and frames play a role in this context? Which topical arguments and emotional reactions prevail? The RHET AI Center will have access to various current research areas in artificial intelligence—such as machine learning, intelligent systems and neural networks – and to scientists engaged in these fields. Together, we will advance rhetorical science communication projects in order to explain, discuss and communicate AI research in dialogue with the public at the regional and national levels.
The aim of the planned cooperation between the Department for General Rhetoric, the Tübingen Institute of Media Studies, the Tübingen AI Center, the Excellence Cluster “Machine Learning – New Perspectives for Science”, the Cyber Valley Initiative and the practice partner Science in Dialogue (WiD) in Berlin is to assess the status of the public discourse. In order to initiate an evidence-based discourse on AI, we will examine affective reactions and differing interests and motives of addressees, as well as how scientists can effectively communicate structures of reason and rationality. Five Research Units will investigate current discourses, develop rhetorical approaches to better communicate about complex research results and processes and ultimately initiate a future-oriented discourse on AI. Within science communication research, rhetoric introduces an innovative method by taking the perspective of the addressees, thus rendering conflicting interests and emotional reactions more accessible.
Unit 1 (Discourse and Narrative) will explore patterns in local debates and national discourses on AI. Unit 2 (Visual) will consider the special significance of visual representations of AI in popular media. In this way, Units 1 and 2 will seek to understand what people associate with AI and the ideas this field of research triggers in them. On the basis of these findings, Unit 3 (Communicative Competence) will work to strengthen the researchers’ rhetorical competence so that they can vividly and accessibly communicate their research processes. Unit 4 (Event) is intended to initiate regional dialogues, but also to further develop methods of participatory science communication in cooperation with WiD and use them for the communication of AI topics nationwide. AI Cafés and the "I am a scientist" program will address school-aged children specifically, but will also promote dialogue events at venues with AI research facilities. Finally, Unit 5 (Future Strategies) will attempt to cast a glance into the future: What advances will technology make? What debates await us and how can science prepare itself? Which social issues and problems will need to be discussed and considered? The results of these Units will also be made available and disseminated to the science communication community through a comprehensive transfer concept.
artificial intelligence
künstliche Intelligenz
science communication
science communication

Involved staff


Institute of Rhetoric
Department of Philosophy and Media, Faculty of Humanities

Contact persons

Institute of Media Studies
Department of Philosophy and Media, Faculty of Humanities
Media Competence Center (ZFM)
Central cross-faculty facilities
Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen
Institute for Theoretical Physics (ITP)
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science
CRC 1233 - Robust Vision — Inference Principles and Neural Mechanisms
Collaborative research centers and transregios
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Tübingen (BCCN)
Interfaculty Institutes
Tübingen AI Center
Department of Informatics, Faculty of Science
Behrens, Christian
Center for Ophthalmology
Hospitals and clinical institutes, Faculty of Medicine

Local organizational units

Institute of Rhetoric
Department of Philosophy and Media
Faculty of Humanities
Institute of Media Studies
Department of Philosophy and Media
Faculty of Humanities
CyberValley Unit for Artificial Intelligence
Central cross-faculty facilities
University of Tübingen


Hannover, Niedersachsen, Germany

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