Vision 2020

I am looking forward to a big year. Chiefly, I want to complete and submit my PhD dissertation. So from mid February till the end of June, I will be on hiatus from everything except for writing full time. It is wonderful to be able to joyfully say no to invitations to your wonderful events, conferences, festivals and seminars. It is also a privilege to now, finally, have the resources to write and do nothing else. It’s been a challenging few years of full time work + part time PhD.

Before that, however, there is a lot going on in the next month! Through January I am running seminars at the School of Disobedience in Berlin, two hours every Monday for six consecutive (well, almost) Mondays, about AI. As part of this, I will co-host a discussion with the artist, Sougwen Chung, on January 21 at the Volksbühne.

Exciting-ly, I got a small Hivos Digital Futures fellowship to build a visual and textual dictionary that will document some of the ideas we will work with during the School of Disobedience seminar. I call it Aa is for An0ther. Stay tuned.

Then, switching gears, I will be in Barcelona for the FAT* conference primarily to co-lead a tutorial about situating knowledge in the cross- and interdisciplinary work of critically appraising fairness, accountability and transparency concerns associated with machine learning technologies.

Finally, I will spend a day at CASBS at Stanford in early February for a one-day invite-only meeting as part of my fellowship at the Berggruen Institute.

My project at Berggruen is about understanding the poetics and politics of AI metaphors in different global regions. I will examine “metaphors as epistemological tools to uncover a range of cognitive, affective, and ideological connotations of AI. What are the epistemic values of metaphors? Moving from metaphors’ morphologies, that is, how they are architected linguistically, what are their meta-features, what kinds of work do they do in shaping discourse, what is left unsaid or remains unclear?”

More: “its [AI] component technologies– infrastructures and industries of machine learning, big data, cognition and perception technologies, natural language processing – exist in different forms and products around the world. AI is a new technological and philosophical moment, one in which our concepts of the world and ourselves falter. Faced with the new shifts in reality that AI ushers in, we rely on metaphors to do epistemic work for us, to constitute the space of AI; and like sherpas, help us traverse this unfamiliar space. And more profoundly, metaphors simulate the landscape itself; they create new spaces that we may not know how to cross. In this way metaphors work as both map and territory. “

This is cultural, social and philosophical research into a new and emerging technology; it will involve working through a variety of cultural products from different parts of the world, and talking to many different people. It’s what I like to do, so I’m stoked! (Most of this work will happen from August-December however, post-dissertation 😉 )

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