Dr Kanta Dihal, Sidney Sussex




Biographical Information

Dr Kanta Dihal is a Senior Research Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence. Her research focuses on science narratives, particularly those that emerge from conflict. She is the Principal Investigator on the Global AI Narratives project, which explores intercultural public understanding of artificial intelligence as constructed by fictional and nonfictional narratives, and the Project Development Lead on Decolonizing AI. She obtained her DPhil in science communication at the University of Oxford in 2018: in her thesis, titled 'The Stories of Quantum Physics,' she investigated the communication of conflicting interpretations of quantum physics to adults and children. Her thesis will be published as Stories in Superposition by OUP next year.

Kanta's present work focuses on the portrayals and perceptions of intelligent machines across cultures, and how they help us think about ethics and bias in new technologies. She is co-editor of AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking About Intelligent Machines (Oxford University Press, 2020) and Imagining AI: How the World Sees Intelligent Machines (Oxford University Press, 2022), and has co-authored a series of papers on AI narratives with Dr Stephen Cave, including ‘The Whiteness of AI’ (Philosophy and Technology, 2020). She has advised the World Economic Forum, the UK House of Lords, and the United Nations on portrayals and perceptions of AI.

Research Interests

  • Literature and science, 1900-present
  • Science fiction
  • Modernism
  • Postmodernism
  • Children's literature, 1900-present
  • Science communication
  • Postcolonial, decolonial, and critical race theory

Areas of Graduate Supervision

See Research Interests.

Selected Publications


Dihal, K. (2021) Stories in Superposition: Quantum Physics in Fiction and Popular Science, 1900-present. Oxford: Oxford University Press (proposal accepted).

Cave, S., & Dihal, K., ed. Imagining AI: How the World Sees Intelligent Machines (under contract with Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2022).

Cave, S., Dihal, K. & Dillon, S., ed. (2020) AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking about Intelligent Machines. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198846666.

Dihal, K., ed. (2019) Perspectives on Evil: From Banality to Genocide. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-36582-7.


Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Cave, S., Dihal, K., Drage, E., & Mackereth, K. (2022) The AI Identity: How the AI Engineer is Culturally Constructed as Male. In Browne, J. & Cave, S. (eds.) Feminist AI: Critical Perspectives on Algorithms, Data, and Intelligent Machines.

Cave, S., Dihal, K., Drage, E., & Mackereth, K. (2021) Who Makes AI? Gender and Portrayals of AI Scientists in Film 1920-2020. (Under review with Public Understanding of Science).

Cave, S., & Dihal, K. (2021) Whiteness as a Roboticist’s Dilemma. ACM Transactions in Human-Robot Interaction: Special Issue on Affect and Embodiment in HRI. (proposal accepted, undergoing peer review).

Cave, S., & Dihal, K. (Oct 2021) Roxanne, or Companion Robots and Hierarchies of the Human, in The Love Makers, ed. Campbell, A. London: Goldsmiths Press (in print).

Cave, S., & Dihal, K. (August 2021) AI Will Always Love You, in Minding the Future: Contemporary Issues in Artificial Intelligence, ed. Dainton, B., Slocombe, W., & Tanyi, A. New York: Springer (in print).

Dihal, K. (2021) Rudy Rucker. In Frana, P. & Klein, M., ed. Encyclopedia of Artificial Intelligence: The Past, Present, and Future of AI. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, pp. 287-289.     

Cave, S., & Dihal, K. (2020) The Whiteness of AI. Philosophy and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13347-020-00415-6.

Dihal, K. (2020) Enslaved Minds: Fictional Artificial Intelligence Uprisings. In AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking about Intelligent Machines, ed. Cave, S., Dihal, K., & Dillon, S. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 189-212.

Cave, S., Dihal, K. & Dillon, S. Imagining AI. In Cave, S., Dihal, K. & Dillon, S., ed. (2020) AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking about Intelligent Machines. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 1-21.

Rich, A.S., Rudin, C., […] Dihal, K., et al. (2020) AI reflections in 2019. Nature Machine Intelligence 2(1): 2–9. https://doi-org/10.1038/s42256-019-0141-1

Cave, S., Coughlan, K., and Dihal, K. (2019) “Scary Robots”: Examining Public Responses to AI. Proceedings of the 2019 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society: 331-337. https://doi.org/10.1145/3306618.3314232.

Dihal, K. (2019) New Science, New Stories: Quantum Physics as a Narrative Trope in Contemporary Fiction. In Representations of Science in Twenty-First-Century Fiction: Human and Temporal Connectivities, eds. Engelhardt, N. & Hoydis, J. London: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-19490-1

Cave, S. & Dihal, K. (2019) Hopes and fears for intelligent machines in fiction and reality. Nature Machine Intelligence 1(2): 74-78.

Cave, S. & Dihal, K. (2018) Ancient dreams of intelligent machines: 3,000 years of robots. Nature 559(7715): 473-475. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-05773-y

Dihal, K. (2017) The State of the Unions in Literature and Science: On Science Fiction As a Separate Field. Journal of Literature and Science 10(1): 32-36. https://doi.org/10.12929/jls.10.1.07


Peer-Reviewed Reports

Dihal, K., Hollanek, T., Rizk, N., Weheba, N., & Cave, S. (June 2021) Imagining a Future with Intelligent Machines: A Middle Eastern and North African Perspective. University of Cambridge.

Whittlestone, J., Nyrup, R., Alexandrova, A., Dihal, K. & Cave, S. (2019) Ethical and Societal Implications of Algorithms, Data, and Artificial Intelligence: A Roadmap for Research. The Nuffield Foundation.

Craig, C., Cave, S., Dihal, K., Dillon, S., Montgomery, J., Singler, B., & Taylor, L. (2018) Portrayals and Perceptions of AI and why they matter. The Royal Society.