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Accepted Paper:

A.I. Stands for Alien Imagination  
Roland Kapferer

Paper short abstract:

If this is the era of 'cruel optimism' as Lauren Berlant has noted then cruel optimism for anthropologists is the attachment to concepts like 'the social' in the compromised condition of their possibility. A.I. illuminates the attachment to problematic subjects and objects in advance of their loss.

Paper long abstract:

The development of Artificial Intelligence demands a radical rethinking of anthropology at its core. As we move from the anthropological to the datological (Clough 2018) and into the arena of big data, the algorithmic-social and the post-probabilistic, key fundamentals of social science methodology and its ontological assumptions are being challenged and potentially overturned. All manner of defensive reactions are underway. Anthropologists and social scientists generally cling desperately to the ideas of Society, Culture, Reason, Meaning, Communication, Sexuality, Language. There are attempts to align anthropology with other university disciplines and build an inter-disciplinary responsibility and a critical ethics which amount to not much more than a techno-capitalist 'nihilism of care' and 'relationality.' Part of this exploration will be to track the transmutation of the university into a new artificially intelligent organizational corporate assemblage: the meta-versity. If it is to survive and flourish in the (non)age of the meta-versity then anthropology urgently needs radical re-thinking. Taking up the case of the 2020 launch of the 'large language model' GPT-3 by the OpenAI group and the development of the companion A.I. company Replika this paper examines the technological event binging about the breakdown and re-engineering of the most cherished notions of what it is to be human - particularly the human in love.

Panel P20b
Digitalization and the Reconstitution of the Social and Political Realities of Human Being
  Session 1 Tuesday 7 June, 2022, -