Journal article Open Access

The new ghosts in the machine: 'Pragmatist' AI and the conceptual perils of anthropomorphic description

Brooker, Phillip; Dutton, William; Mair, Michael


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{
  "publisher": "Zentral- und Hochschulbibliothek Luzern", 
  "DOI": "10.5281/zenodo.3459327", 
  "container_title": "Ethnographic studies", 
  "title": "The new ghosts in the machine: 'Pragmatist' AI and the conceptual perils of anthropomorphic description", 
  "issued": {
    "date-parts": [
      [
        2019, 
        10, 
        4
      ]
    ]
  }, 
  "abstract": "<p>Algorithms are becoming interwoven with increasingly many aspects of our affairs.<br>\nThat process of interweaving has brought with it a language laden with anthropomorphic<br>\ndescriptions of the technologies involved, which variously hint at &lsquo;humanesque&rsquo;<br>\nor &lsquo;conscious-like&rsquo; activity occurring within or behind their operations. Indeed,<br>\nthe term &lsquo;Artificial Intelligence&rsquo; (AI) seems to refer to a quality that is thought<br>\nto be largely human; namely, intelligence. However, while anthropomorphic descriptions<br>\nmay be useful or harmless, when taken at face value they generate a false<br>\npicture of algorithms as well as of our own thinking and reasoning practices by<br>\ntreating them as analogues of one another rather than as distinct. Focusing on the<br>\nalgorithm, and what it is misleadingly said to be and to be like, in this article we<br>\noutline three &lsquo;perspicuous representations&rsquo; (Wittgenstein 1953: &sect;122) of AI in specific<br>\ncontexts. Drawing on Wes Sharrock&rsquo;s ethnomethodological and Wittgensteinian<br>\nwork, our aim is to demonstrate that by attending to the particular, occasioned<br>\nand locally accountable, not to say highly specified, usages of language that accompany<br>\nthe &lsquo;New AI&rsquo; in particular, we can avoid being haunted by the new task performing<br>\nghosts currently being discursively conjured up in our algorithmic machines.</p>", 
  "author": [
    {
      "family": "Brooker, Phillip"
    }, 
    {
      "family": "Dutton, William"
    }, 
    {
      "family": "Mair, Michael"
    }
  ], 
  "page": "272-298", 
  "volume": "16", 
  "note": "+ Sprache: eng", 
  "publisher_place": "Luzern", 
  "type": "article-journal", 
  "id": "3459327"
}
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