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Programming anthropology: coding and culture in the age of AI 
Gui Heurich (UCL)
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Friday 10 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel will explore the intersections between anthropology and computer programming by looking, on the one hand, at ethnographies of data, algorithms, and coding, and on the other hand, by exploring how anthropologists themselves have used or could incorporate programming in their research.

Long Abstract:

Artificial intelligence (AI) evokes images of robots and sentient machines which are not yet a reality. However, AI is already a reality as machine learning algorithms that power applications and devices that people interact with on a daily basis. Search engine suggestions, mapping and route finding, social media ads, music recommendation, smart cameras and devices are all powered by such code. As such, one could argue that AI is code. In this panel, we will ask: how can anthropology engage with the practice of coding/programming?

We would like to invite scholars to explore the many ways in which anthropology could understand the role of programming, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in social life. On the one hand, we welcome ethnographic and anthropological analysis of data, algorithms, and programming in any social context. On the other hand, we would also like to invite anthropologists who have knowledge of programming or that have used programming scripts in their research, be it for statistical analysis, data visualization, or any other research practices. Combined, these two perspectives will give us a variety of contexts in which to explore the intersections between anthropology and computer programming, thus creating a critical understanding of how artificial intelligence might shape (in fact, program) the future of our discipline.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 10 June, 2022, -