Luciana Parisi – The Alien Subject of AI

Event Date: 12 May 2016

Room 264
Senate House
University of London
London WC1E 7HU

The Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway presents:

Dr Luciana Parisi (Goldsmiths) – The Alien Subject of AI

As Google’s open source Library Tensor Flow has released its artificial intelligence on the Net, it has become increasingly apparent that what constitutes the digital subject today cannot be disentangled from our computational environment and its transparent ingression into the realm of thinking. The idea of the digital subject brings to question the complex political dimension of thinking, defined by the problem of how we think today and who is doing the thinking. Whilst constructivist theories of the subject would insist that the discursive production of the data and algorithms dominates the image of the subject today, materialist approaches would rather highlight that the technical order of being can account for epistemological transformation of what the subject is known/thought to be. This means that the techno-scientific discourse is also providing a new understanding of the subject whose ontology is not substantially determined, but rather becomes determined by and through knowledge. However, as AI becomes entrenched with the specific abilities of human subjects to think rationally, the issue of the limit to and of knowledge as carried out through and by machines, reveals the alien – that is the denaturalized – condition of subjectivity. One urgent question to ask today is: is there a political dimension to this new condition? What are the political possibilities of this alien subject?

Luciana Parisi is Reader in Cultural Theory, Convenor of the PhD programme at the Centre for Cultural Studies, and co-director of the Digital Culture Unit, Goldsmiths University of London. Her research draws on continental philosophy to investigate ontological and epistemological transformations driven by the function of technology in culture, aesthetics and politics. She is interested in cybernetics, information theory and computation, complexity and evolutionary theories and in the technocapitalist investment in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology. She has written within the field of Media Philosophy and Computational Design. In 2004, she published Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (Continuum Press). In 2013, she published Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and Space (MIT Press). She is currently researching the history of automation and the philosophical consequences of logical thinking in machines.

Introduction by Silvia Mollicchi (Warwick):

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