The Social and Cultural Studies of AI and Robotics is an exciting and innovative book series that expands the debates about robotics and artificial intelligence, exploring the pressing concerns about its social and cultural impacts. From the restructuring of work to the automation of historical inequities to the concentration of wealth and power of Big Tech to the founding myths and fictions of AI to its environmental impact, this series welcomes contributions from humanities and social science researchers working at the intersection of technology and humanity.Read more “CFP: AI and Robotics Book Series”
In a fascinating new article in Glass Bead Journal, Louis Chude-Sokei (2019) begins by challenging the parallels between humans and machines that David Levy (2007) mobilizes in his controversial book Love and Sex with Robots. The parallels Levy sets up, Chude-Sokei maintains, have been “less controversial than his book’s assumptions of and possible impact on gender relationships, and his nonchalant relationship to ethics.”Read more “Machines and the Ethics of Miscegenation”
Just out in the Palgrave book series called Social and Cultural Studies of Robots and AI, edited by Teresa Heffernan, Kathleen Richardson and Cathrine Hasse: Enchanting Robots: Intimacy, Magic, and Technology by Maciej Musiał. This book argues that robots are enchanting humans (as potential intimate partners), because humans are enchanting robots (by performing magical thinking), and that these processes are a part of a significant re-enchantment of the “modern” world.Read more “Robots Enchanting Humans”
On March 6th news broke that Google was participating in a pilot project with the US military, supplying artificial intelligence capabilities to automate the analysis of drone surveillance footage (see Gizmodo and New York Times). Since then, Google employees have signed a petition opposing their company’s involvement, twelve employees are “resigning in protest,” and “tech workers” in the broader industry have circulated their own petition.Read more “Academics Support Google Workers Against Company’s Military Project”
Following the media sensation around Jibo, the “world’s first family robot,” in an article posted on WIRED magazine (Sept 5, 2014) philosopher Evan Selinger reflects on the impacts that robot servants may have on our lives. While there may be advantages to living with domestic robots, notably having to do less manual work ourselves and having more leisure time, the irony, according to Selinger, is that we may also experience a decline in quality of life.Read more “Jibo, Robot Servants, and Quality of Life”
–Journalist Eric Benson’s week-long experience
As Teresa Heffernan noted here last week, at the Silicon Valley-based Singularity University, “faith in technology and profit are unwavering, while the world’s problems are understood as great ‘market’ opportunities.” In March 2013, journalist Eric Benson took a weeklong $12,000 course in the Executive Program at the university. Not only was he instructed in the “nearly limitless potential of artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, and bioinformatics,” he learned that science fiction, religion and the drive to get rich motivate the university’s teachers and students. Benson’s insightful analysis of his experience, “Sci-Fi, Religion, And Silicon Valley’s Quest For Higher Learning At Singularity University” is posted at BuzzFeed.
Feature image source: Eric Benson/Buzzfeed.