What is the name of the father of machines

Christian Vater, M.A.

Philosophical seminar at the University of Heidelberg

Telephone: -
Email: [email protected]


Research assistant in the sub-project "Written artefacts in new media" of the SFB 933.

Magister in Philosophy (University of Kassel). Working area philosophy of artificial intelligence and the history of the 'hypertext' concept. Currently very interested in artifact theories and dispositive concepts. Science and media theory approach, interested in what science and technology studies will bring.

Doctoral project at the Philosophical Seminar of the University of Heidelberg with the preliminary title "Alan M. Turing and the difference between man and machine" (Prof. Dr. Peter McLaughlin).


HEiKAexplore research bridge "Autonomous systems in the field of tension between law, ethics, technology and culture"


300 years of mechanical intelligence. About arithmetic servants and think tanks by Christian Vater & Christoph Bertolo.

Our science video on the history of artificial intelligence as the automation of mental work is shown on KIM.HfG.Karlsruhe and >> Castor && Pollux <<.


Short biography

  • Born and graduated from high school in Hann.Münden.
  • Studied history, ancient history and archeology in Cologne.
  • Studied philosophy and German in Kassel.
  • 2011 Master's thesis in philosophy on the topic: “Can machines think? - Artificial intelligence and the Turing test. ”(First reviewer: Prof. Dr. Gottfried Heinemann, second reviewer: Prof. Dr. Dr. Kristian Köchy) (here as a pdf).
  • Since 2013 doctoral project at the Philosophical Seminar of the University of Heidelberg (Prof. Dr. Peter McLaughlin) on the philosophy of artificial intelligence with the working title "Alan M. Turing and the search for the difference between man and machine".
  • Work in university public relations (UniKasselTransfer) and in corporate communications (various start-up companies in the field of AI development). Participation in interdisciplinary teams in AI R&D (symbol grounding problem and semasiological dictionaries).
  • Since 2014 in the office of the SFB933 (public relations + series of publications), from 2015 in the sub-project Ö "Written artefacts in new media")

Teaching assignments

  • WiSe 2019/2020: Diagrams and thinking - technical images, diagrams and infographics as material and as an expression of philosophizing (Heidelberg University)
  • Summer term 2019: Artificial intelligence and philosophy - thinking machines between symbol processing and cybernetics (Heidelberg University)
  • WiSe 2017/2018: ›Hypertext‹. Do we think differently when we change the writing / reading technology? Introduction to the history and the philosophical context of a networked, dynamic writing system and its writing and reading technology (Heidelberg University)
  • WiSe 2017/2018: Wikipedia exercise: How do I convey my work results in a collaborative online encyclopedia? (Interdisciplinary exercise together with Friederike Elias, Heidelberg University)
  • SoSe 2017: What is a 'program'? What is a 'network'? - About programming and networking people and machines (Heidelberg University)
  • WiSe 2016/17 (cont.): Wikipedia exercise: How do I convey my work results in a collaborative online encyclopedia? (Interdisciplinary exercise together with Friederike Elias, Heidelberg University)
  • SoSe 2016: What does it mean to lie? Truth claims, misleading and lying machines (Heidelberg University)
  • WiSe 2015/16: (Typing) machines and society: Philosophical and sociological perspectives on "New Media" and their technology. (Interdisciplinary seminar together with Friederike Elias, Heidelberg University)
  • SoSe 2015: What are Philosophical Thought Experiments? (University of Heidelberg)
  • WiSe 2014/2015: Information philosophy - Luciano Floridis "The Philosophy of Information" (Heidelberg University)
  • Summer term 2014: “Can machines think?” –Alan M. Turing (University of Heidelberg)
  • WiSe 2013/2014: Teleosemantics - Ruth Millikans “The Varieties of Meaning: The 2002 Jean Nicod Lecture” (University of Kassel)
  • SoSe 2013: Philosophical Semantics - "What does meaning mean?", "What does a sign mean?" (University of Kassel)
  • WiSe 2012/2013: Theories of Truth (University of Kassel)
  • Summer semester 2012: "Can machines think?" - Turing's test, calculating machines and intelligence (University of Kassel)

Event series


  • Eckhard Geitz, Christian Vater and Silke Zimmer-Merkle (eds.) (* 2020 / accepted for publication): About sealing and opening black boxes. Dispositive and artifact arrangements as analytical instruments. Berlin: De Gruyter (= Materiale Textkulturen N.N.)
  • Christian Vater (2019): Wikipedia and the software dispositive. A digital collaborative online encyclopedia for the “Turing galaxy” - and the history of hypertext, in: Gredel, Eva, Laura Herzberg and Angelika Storrer (eds.): Linguistic Wikipedistics - Discourses, Interactions and Analysis Methods. Mannheim: UBM (= discourses - digital, special volume 1). (OpenAccess)
  • Michaela Böttner, Ludger Lieb, Christian Vater, Christian Witschel (eds.) (2017): "5300 years of writing", Wunderhorn: Heidelberg. Accompanying website - OpenAccess full text + web additions.
  • therein: Father, Christian (2017): "Hypertext"
  • Charlotte Lagemann, Tina Schöbel, Christian Vater (eds.) (2015): "LebenDingeTexte. Accompanying booklet for the exhibition", Heidelberg University Library: Heidelberg - OpenAccess full text.

Organization of scientific conferences and workshops

Science communication

  • 04.-05.11.2016: Wikipedia meets science: "GLAM on Tour in the Antikenmuseum and the cast collection of the University of Heidelberg" (in cooperation with the Institute for Classical Archeology of the University of Heidelberg, the antiquity editors of Wikipedia and WMDE)
  • October 28, 2016 + July 3, 2017: "Always open to Wikipedia: How to deal professionally with the Wikipedians and their online encyclopedia" (Workshop for science communicators at the University of Heidelberg, together with Communication and Marketing) - Part 1 + Part 2
  • 07.03.2017: "WikiWissen: A look behind the search mask. What is useful to work meaningfully with Wikipedia"
    (Workshop for the Dept. of Information Services and Reading Areas, Heidelberg University Library)
  • 10.-11.10.2017: Wikipedia meets science: "GLAM on Tour in the Heidelberg University Library -
    Bibliotheca Palatina and Wikipedia "(In cooperation with the Heidelberg University Library, various Wiki projects and WMDE)
  • 11/29/2017: "Science communication with Wikipedia" (Interactive workshop, 10th Science Communication Forum, Braunschweig, together with Friederike Elias - SFB933 -, Nele Schneidereit - SFB933 - and Dominik Scholl - WMDE)

Science films

Broadcast contributions

Lectures + workshops

  • July 16, 2015: "Hypertext - an auto-operative writing in semantic space" (University of Heidelberg, academic lunch break 2015 "5,300 years of writing")
  • 09/17/2016: "Wikipedians and the Collaborative Research Center 'Material Text Cultures' at the University of Heidelberg - Review of a year of cooperation and outlook for further joint projects" (Lecture at WikiCon 2016 in Stuttgart)
  • December 3rd, 2016: GLAM on tour stops at university libraries.
    How can I use a tried and tested format of cooperation with the Wikipedian community in a meaningful way at a university library? (Workshop at the WikiLibrary Barcamp SLUB Dresden, together with Dr. Martin Nissen, Heidelberg University Library - results in the etherpad)
  • August 13, 2017: "Two years of cooperation: The University of Heidelberg, the SFB 933 and Wikipedia" (Workshop WikiMania2017 - Montreal): (Slides as PDF file)
  • 08.11.2017: "How do you bring everyone together? Two years of collaboration between the community, WMDE and the SFB 933" Material Text Cultures "(Workshop WikiCon 2017 - Leipzig); (slides as PDF file)
  • November 17, 2017: "Wikipedia and the history of hypertext" (Workshop "Linguistic Wikipedistics", University of Mannheim)
  • 11/29/2017: "Science Communication with Wikipedia" (10th Science Communication Forum, Braunschweig, interactive workshop)
  • 07/09/2018: "Turing's machines, a test of lies and thinking-about-thinking. A suggestion on how AI research and philosophy can work together" (1st Villigster Dialog Heidelberg - Artificial Intelligence in Computer Science, Law and Philosophy)
  • April 3rd, 2019: "{Singularity} as a concept and as a myth of research into artificial intelligence" (Heidelberger Frühling - FutureTalks 2019 on "Castor && Pollux")


Print and online reports


  • Interdisciplinary Network for Studies Investigating Science and Technology (INSIST)
  • German Society for Philosophy e.V. (DGPhil)

Academic functions

  • WiSe 2016 - SoSe 2018: Heidelberg University - Philosophical Seminar: Fachrat (representation of scientific staff)