15 Sep, 2018

Talk and panel discussion organized by InYoung Yeo on 15 Sept., 2018 in Seoul, for her A.I.MAGINE curatorial project. Talk on “AI and Cosmological Narration”.

The development of AI has been framed as a Copernican trauma, for which we are now in its prehistory. That is to say, ‘intelligence’ imagined as an exclusive property of (some) humans, or intelligence measureable only in terms of human modes of thought, is decentering. While on the one hand, AI indexes the potential for a break from a world-picture premised on human narcissism and a diversification of how we understand ‘intelligence’ as such, on the other hand it also brings with it an immense threat of sheer human irrelevance, automated militarization and increased inequality. How are we to navigate this threshold and orient the instrumental possibilities of AI in such a way where the decentering of the human does not come to equal utter dehumanization? Bentley Allan has argued that, over time, paradigmatic scientific discoveries, like heliocentrism, come to influence cosmological orders, setting a sense of purposefulness that guide (and ‘justify’) political decision-making. These alter cosmologies are not simply the result of the discovery itself in isolation, but about the extrapolated (and subsequently interpolated) narration of that new knowledge as it intersects with multiple domains concerning human existence and planetary organization. Even in our condition heavily governed by techno-scientific operations, (perhaps especially because of this dominance), there is an urgency for cultural practices to intervene in the narration of technological development. Technology reshapes our relationship to the world, initiating different modes of thinking in so doing, yet it does so without determinate ends. This space of indetermination is not an excuse, as the collective Glass Bead has noted, “to aimlessly blunder into further violence and destruction”, but to give these capacities a narrative orientation; in other words, a sense of purposefulness embedded within an alter cosmopolitical condition.