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Accepted Paper:

Sympoietic Futures AI Anthropology  
Sonja Trifuljesko (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores the relevance of the concept of sympoiesis for an engaged and interdisciplinary Futures focused AI Anthropology.

Paper long abstract:

Sympoiesis, a concept first proposed by a student of environmental science Beth Dempster in the 1990s but more recently scrutinised by Donna Haraway, signifies a process of collective and collaborative constitution, or - as Haraway puts it - “making-with”. As such, it allows us to explore “intra-active relatings”, which cannot be explained by "self-producing" approaches to being and living (Haraway 2016). At the same time, paying attention to constitutive relatings offers a crucial means for cherishing livability in deeply disturbed environments we all inhabit (Tsing et al. 2017).

In this paper, I elaborate on the significance of the concept of sympoiesis for Interdisciplinary Futures focused AI Anthropology. I argue that a sympoietic approach can advance anthropologists’ engagements with both futures and AI in at least three different ways. First, it could help further develop futures anthropology, pointing towards an additional technique for this anticipatory and interventionist anthropological practice (Pink and Salazar 2017). Second, it challenges the mainstream approaches to AI as autonomous entities in the world and offers a way to explore data-driven algorithmic systems at a planetary scale (Crawford 2021). Third, it enables us to interrogate how new relationalities further reconfigure anthropological practice, as anthropologists begin their own experimentations with computational tools (Ruckenstein 2019). For all these reasons, the concept of sympoiesis opens a fertile pathway for anthropologists to participate in co-creating liveable AI futures.

Panel P01a
AI and interdisciplinary Futures Anthropology
  Session 1 Monday 6 June, 2022, -