RHET AI: Center for Rhetorical Science Communication Research on Artificial Intelligence.

Research Unit 1: Discourse and Narrative Unit

The RHET AI Center in Tuebingen researches science communication about AI. This is done in cooperation with the chair of scientific communication at KIT with a focus on linguistics. The research is carried out through a rhetorical, linguistic and media science perspective.

The research Unit 1 is stationed in Karlsruhe and Tuebingen and concerned with the questions: What type of social discussions are being carried out on the topic of artificial intelligence? What kind of key subjects and narratives appear in such discussions? Which “actors” play a key role in these discourses? As well as in what way, on a rhetorical and language level, are being these discourses carried out?   

The researchers study how communication about AI is being established

For this topic, there are a few fundamental assumptions that play a crucial role: Communication about artificial intelligence and its analyzation is being established and transformed through thematic and narrative structures. As a basis for the discourse analyzation three clusters were formed and analyzed: These are concerning the thematic, the topical, but also the fictional and image related structures surrounding the AI discussion. These studies are being carried out by Unit 1 in cooperation with the institute of media science. Whereas the RHET AI Center itself will be concerned with the accumulation of data and materials from focus groups. This will be done through citizen conferences or online chat platforms between researchers and learners throughout the duration of the sponsored phase.

The center is split in five research units

Unit 1 also offers the Journalist-in-Residence-Program for experienced scientific journalists. The program is a collaboration between the RHET AI Center and Cyber Valley and offers its participants the possibility to learn the capabilities and the limits of machine learning, computer vision and robotics. 

Moreover, the Artificial Friday is an online colloquium that explores questions surrounding the topic of artificial intelligence through a linguistic perspective. The colloquium started in spring 2022 and continues regularly because of its high attendance. Dates for Artificial Friday in the coming winter semester are listed on the poster below this paragraph. For further information visit the Artificial Friday Homepage.




University of Tübingen (Rhetoric Department, Institute of Media Studies Cluster of Excellence – Machine Learning for Science)), Cyber Valley, Wissenschaft im Dialog (Science in Dialog), OBVIA Montréal


Volkswagen Stiftung

Participating Scientists:

Prof. Dr. Annette Leßmöllmann

Dr. Monika Hanauska

Dr. Nina Kalwa

Franziska Buresch

Anna Köhler

Patrizia Attar



  • Monika Hanauska, Annette Leßmöllmann, Nina Kalwa: Distrusting self-driving cars, trusting Alexa. A discourse linguistic investigation of trust in Artificial Intelligence. Paper presented at the 18th International Pragmatics Conference, Brussels, July 10, 2023.
  • Monika Hanauska: Wise, smart, creative machines? Negotiations about the term "Artificial Intelligence" in comments on science blogposts. Talk given at Artificial Friday, Feb. 10, 2023. 
    • Original title: Weise, kluge, kreative Maschinen? Aushandlungen über den Begriff „Künstliche Intelligenz“ in Kommentaren zu Wissenschaftsblogposts.
  • Monika Hanauska: Between the great future and bug Alexa: how knowledge about Artificial Intelligence is produced in public discourses. Lecture in the context of the Night of Science, Karlsruhe, Nov. 18, 2022.
    • Original title: Zwischen großer Zukunft und Abhörwanze Alexa: wie in öffentlichen Diskursen Wissen über Künstliche Intelligenz hervorgebracht wird. Vortrag im Rahmen der Nacht der Wissenschaft.
  • Monika Hanauska: Serviceable robots, self-driving cars, autonomous killer drones? Conceptualizations of AI in the German-language Media. Lecture in the context of the German-Chinese Workshop: Intercultural Understanding of Technology and Artificial Intelligence. Shanghai/Karlsruhe, Nov. 17-18, 2022. 
    • Original title: Dienstbare Roboter, selbstfahrende Autos, autonome Killerdrohnen? Konzeptualisierungen von KI in den deutschsprachigen Medien. 
  • Monika Hanauska, Nina Kalwa, Annette Leßmöllmann: Unboxing the blackbox AI. Poster presentation at the conference "AI and Futures of Societies" of the Volkswagen Foundation, Hannover, Oct. 12-14, 2022.
  • Susanne Marschall, Annette Leßmöllmann: Center for Rhetorical Science Communication on Artificial Intelligence. Presentation at the kick-off event "Wissenschaftskommunikation Hoch Drei" of the Volkswagen Foundation, Hannover Sep. 19-20, 2022.
  • Nina Kalwa, Monika Hanauska, Annette Leßmöllmann: Distrusting the blackbox AI. Paper presented at the international conference Scientific Expertise, Communication and Trust (SECAT) at Aarhus University, Sep. 27-28, 2022.
  • Nina Kalwa: Talking about Deepfakes. On the loss of trust in the moving image. Presentation in the working group "Interdisciplinary approaches to deepfakes" at the Institute of Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, July 07, 2022. 
    • Original title: Reden über Deepfakes. Vom Vertrauensverlust in das bewegte Bild. Vortrag in der Arbeitsgruppe „Interdisziplinäre Zugänge zu Deepfakes“.
  • Nina Kalwa: Doing human. The linguistic production of the human in AI discourses. Lecture in the context of the lecture series "Rhetoric, Media Studies and Artificial Intelligence" at the University of Tübingen, June 28, 2022.
    • Original title: Doing human. Die sprachliche Hervorbringung des Menschen in KI-Diskursen. Vortrag im Rahmen der Ringvorlesung „Rhetorik, Medienwissenschaft und Künstliche Intelligenz“.
  • Nina Kalwa: Talking about Blackbox, Terminator and Us. AI in journalistic and social media. Lecture at the Institute Colloquium of the Ludwig Uhland Institute for Empirical Cultural Studies "AI and Society", Tübingen, June 6, 2022.
    • Original title: Reden über Blackbox, Terminator und uns. KI in journalistischen und sozialen Medien. Vortrag im Rahmen des Institutskolloquiums des Ludwig-Uhland-Institut für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft „KI und Gesellschaft“ 
  • Monika Hanauska, Nina Kalwa, Annette Leßmöllmann: AI in linguistics and science communication. Lecture in the context of the lecture series "Rhetoric, Media Studies and Artificial Intelligence" at the University of Tübingen, May 17, 2022.
    • Original title: KI in der Linguistik und in der Wissenschaftskommunikation. Vortrag im Rahmen der Ringvorlesung „Rhetorik, Medienwissenschaft und Künstliche Intelligenz“
  • Monika Hanauska, Nina Kalwa, Annette Leßmöllmann: AI and Linguistics - Potentials of a Linguistic Engagement with Artificial Intelligence. Lecture in the context of the linguistic colloquium Artificial Friday, May 6, 2022.
    • Original title: KI und Linguistik – Potenziale einer sprachwissenschaftlichen Auseinandersetzung mit künstlicher Intelligenz.
  • Annette Leßmöllmann: The Terminator and AI: Reporting and Discourses on Artificial Intelligence. Keynote lecture in the context of the information event on the journalist-in-residence program of the RHET AI Center, Jan. 24, 2022.
    • Original title: Der Terminator und die KI: Berichterstattung und Diskurse über Künstliche Intelligenz. Impulsvortrag im Rahmen der Informationsveranstaltung zum Journalist-in-Residence-Programms des RHET AI-Centers.


Panel discussions

  • Annette Leßmöllmann, Susanne Marschall, Olaf Kramer: Panel discussion at the end of the lecture series "Rhetoric, Media Studies and Artificial Intelligence" at the University of Tübingen, 17.07.2022.
    • Original title: Podiumsdiskussion zum Abschluss der Ringvorlesung „Rhetorik, Medienwissenschaft und Künstliche Intelligenz“.



  • Linguistic Colloquium "Artificial Friday": Presentation of Linguistic Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence
  • Netaya Lotze (Münster): Semantic dialogue coherence in human-machine interactions, Feb. 10, 2023
    • Original title: Semantische Dialog-Kohärenz in Mensch-Maschine-Interaktionen.
  • Monika Hanauska (Karlsruhe): Wise, smart, creative machines? Negotiating the term "artificial intelligence" in comments on science blogposts, Feb. 10, 2023
    • Original title: Weise, kluge, kreative Maschinen? Aushandlungen über den Begriff »Künstliche Intelligenz« in Kommentaren zu Wissenschaftsblogposts.
  • Noah Bubenhofer (Zurich): Coding Cultures and Modeling Cultures: a cultural linguistic look at scripting and AI, Jan. 13, 2023
    • Original title: Coding Cultures and Modeling Cultures: Ein kulturlinguistischer Blick auf Scripting und KI.
  • Christoph Purschke (Luxembourg): Cultural Language Processing - Why language processing is not "natural", Jan. 13, 2023
    • Original title: Cultural Language Processing – Warum Sprachverarbeitung nicht »natürlich« ist.
  • Jean Nitze (Kristiansand): Machine Translation - Curse, Blessing and Everyday Life for Translation, Dec. 2, 2022
    • Original title: Maschinelle Übersetzung –  Fluch, Segen und Alltag für die Translation.
  • Philipp Dreesen/Julia Krasselt (Winterthur): Research findings on automated driving as a discursive object, Dec. 12, 2022.
    • Original title: Forschungsergebnisse zu automatisiertem Fahren als diskursivem Gegenstand.
  • Olaf Kramer (Tübingen): Rhetoric of AI discourse, Nov. 4, 2022.
    • Original title: Rhetorik des KI-Diskurses.
  • Derya Gür-Seker (Essen): Let's talk about AI! A Social Media Analysis, Nov. 4, 2022
    • Original title: Let's talk about KI! Eine Social-Media-Analyse.
  • Joachim Scharloth (Tokyo): Flat ontologies for the human black box, July 1, 2022
    • Original title: Flache Ontologien für die Blackbox Mensch.
  • Nina Janich (Darmstadt): Uncertain futures - Public scientific statements on AI, July 1, 2022.
    • Original title: Unsichere Zukünfte – Öffentliche wissenschaftliche Statements zu KI.
  • Theresa Hey (Greifswald): Congrats AI! Algorothmic Metadiscourses, June 3, 2022
    • Original title: Congrats AI! Algorothmische Metadiskurse.
  • Miriam Lind (Mainz): Maid Alexa and Secretary Siri. Linguistic humanization of digital systems, June 3, 2022.
    • Original title: Dienstmädchen Alexa und Sekretärin Siri. Sprachliche Menschwerdung digitaler Systeme.
  • Monika Hanauska, Nina Kalwa, Annette Leßmöllmann (Karlsruhe): AI and linguistics - potentials of a linguistic discussion of artificial intelligence, May 6, 2022
    • Original title: KI und Linguistik – Potenziale einer sprachwissenschaftlichen Auseinandersetzung mit künstlicher Intelligenz.
  • Jan Engberg (Aarhus): How deeply do popularizers immerse themselves in AI? Proposal of a measurement, May 6, 2022
    • Original title: Wie tief tauchen Popularisierende in die KI ein? Vorschlag einer Messung


External science communication

  • Annette Leßmöllmann: "Knowing better": When AI speaks. Tagesspiegel, June 4, 2023.
    • Original title:  “Besser wissen”: Wenn die KI spricht.
  • Annette Leßmöllmann: "Knowing Better". Echter Schwindel. Tagesspiegel, Dec. 23, 2022.
    • Original title:  “Besser wissen”. Echter Schwindel.
  • Nina Kalwa: Participation in the linguistics podcast tuwort by Joachim Scharloth and Noah Bubenhofer on the topic of discourses on AI.https://www.tuwort.com/index.php/2022/08/20/tuwort-spezial-2-diskurse-ueber-ki/, published Aug. 20, 2022.
    • Original title: Beteiligung am Linguistik-Podcast tuwort von Joachim Scharloth und Noah Bubenhofer zum Thema Diskurse über KI.
  • Monika Hanauska, Nina Kalwa, Annette Leßmöllmann: Of Helpful Robots and Uncontrollable Machines. Discourses and narratives on artificial intelligence. Blogpost in the research blog of the KIT Center "Humans and Technology ". https://www.mensch-und-technik.kit.edu/DIskurseKI.php, published on Aug. 15, 2022.
    • Original title: Von hilfreichen Robotern und unkontrollierbaren Maschinen. Diskurse und Narrative zu Künstlicher Intelligenz. Blogpost im Forschungsblog des KIT-Zentrums „Mensch und Technik“.
  • Sina Metz: Humanoid Robots and Dystopias: Images of AI. Interview with Nina Kalwa on wissenschaftskommunikation.de. https://www.wissenschaftskommunikation.de/humanoide-roboter-und-dystopien-bilder-von-ki-57167/, published on April 26, 2022
    • Original title: Humanoide Roboter und Dystopien: Bilder von KI. Interview mit Nina Kalwa auf wissenschaftskommunikation.de.