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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  <identifier identifierType="DOI">10.5281/zenodo.3459327</identifier>
  <creators>
    <creator>
      <creatorName>Brooker, Phillip</creatorName>
      <givenName>Phillip</givenName>
      <familyName>Brooker</familyName>
      <affiliation>University of Liverpool</affiliation>
    </creator>
    <creator>
      <creatorName>Dutton, William</creatorName>
      <givenName>William</givenName>
      <familyName>Dutton</familyName>
      <affiliation>Peak, Manchester</affiliation>
    </creator>
    <creator>
      <creatorName>Mair, Michael</creatorName>
      <givenName>Michael</givenName>
      <familyName>Mair</familyName>
      <affiliation>University of Liverpool</affiliation>
    </creator>
  </creators>
  <titles>
    <title>The new ghosts in the machine: 'Pragmatist' AI and the conceptual perils of anthropomorphic description</title>
  </titles>
  <publisher>Zenodo</publisher>
  <publicationYear>2019</publicationYear>
  <dates>
    <date dateType="Issued">2019-10-04</date>
  </dates>
  <resourceType resourceTypeGeneral="Text">Journal article</resourceType>
  <alternateIdentifiers>
    <alternateIdentifier alternateIdentifierType="url">https://zenodo.org/record/3459327</alternateIdentifier>
  </alternateIdentifiers>
  <relatedIdentifiers>
    <relatedIdentifier relatedIdentifierType="DOI" relationType="IsVersionOf">10.5281/zenodo.3459326</relatedIdentifier>
    <relatedIdentifier relatedIdentifierType="URL" relationType="IsPartOf">https://zenodo.org/communities/lory</relatedIdentifier>
    <relatedIdentifier relatedIdentifierType="URL" relationType="IsPartOf">https://zenodo.org/communities/lory_zhb</relatedIdentifier>
    <relatedIdentifier relatedIdentifierType="URL" relationType="IsPartOf">https://zenodo.org/communities/lory_zhb_ethno_studies</relatedIdentifier>
  </relatedIdentifiers>
  <rightsList>
    <rights rightsURI="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode">Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International</rights>
    <rights rightsURI="info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess">Open Access</rights>
  </rightsList>
  <descriptions>
    <description descriptionType="Abstract">&lt;p&gt;Algorithms are becoming interwoven with increasingly many aspects of our affairs.&lt;br&gt;
That process of interweaving has brought with it a language laden with anthropomorphic&lt;br&gt;
descriptions of the technologies involved, which variously hint at &amp;lsquo;humanesque&amp;rsquo;&lt;br&gt;
or &amp;lsquo;conscious-like&amp;rsquo; activity occurring within or behind their operations. Indeed,&lt;br&gt;
the term &amp;lsquo;Artificial Intelligence&amp;rsquo; (AI) seems to refer to a quality that is thought&lt;br&gt;
to be largely human; namely, intelligence. However, while anthropomorphic descriptions&lt;br&gt;
may be useful or harmless, when taken at face value they generate a false&lt;br&gt;
picture of algorithms as well as of our own thinking and reasoning practices by&lt;br&gt;
treating them as analogues of one another rather than as distinct. Focusing on the&lt;br&gt;
algorithm, and what it is misleadingly said to be and to be like, in this article we&lt;br&gt;
outline three &amp;lsquo;perspicuous representations&amp;rsquo; (Wittgenstein 1953: &amp;sect;122) of AI in specific&lt;br&gt;
contexts. Drawing on Wes Sharrock&amp;rsquo;s ethnomethodological and Wittgensteinian&lt;br&gt;
work, our aim is to demonstrate that by attending to the particular, occasioned&lt;br&gt;
and locally accountable, not to say highly specified, usages of language that accompany&lt;br&gt;
the &amp;lsquo;New AI&amp;rsquo; in particular, we can avoid being haunted by the new task performing&lt;br&gt;
ghosts currently being discursively conjured up in our algorithmic machines.&lt;/p&gt;</description>
    <description descriptionType="Other">+ Sprache: eng</description>
  </descriptions>
</resource>
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