Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Saturday, January 21, 2017

How "AI" Doesn't Matter

Thinking about the world is the world mattering to the thinker. So long as nothing matters to robots and algorithms, to speak of "AI" is always to lie. There are no, nor have there ever been, nor can we be sure there ever will be any AIs in the world. Indeed, as it is presently constituted the very idea of "AI" is simply a kind of error. The closest "AI" comes to material reality is as a discourse, that is to say, as an ideological framework. It is apt, that so much of the reactionary work of this ideology is a matter of not-mattering, of denial and disavowal: "AI" is the denial, without evidence but with reasons, of the indispensability of biological brains and also lived struggles in which intelligence as a personal and historical force is incarnated in the world, denials at once facilitating the disavowal of our collective responsibilities to support the lives and dignity of our intelligent companions as a general matter as well as the disavowal by owners, users, coders of machines of specific responsibilities for the costs, risks, disruptions and inequities mediated by their machines.

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