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AI and Algorithmic Cultures

AI and Algorithmic Cultures is a research group at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, launched in June 2021. We aim to critically question current definitions and uses of algorithms and AI, and to re-imagine and re-define them through practice and publishing, drawing from artistic research, anthropological methods and technical development. Research excellence is thereby achieved by combining technical innovation with artistic practice and multicultural research to address important societal and environmental issues related to AI and algorithmic cultures, addressing for example UKRI’s Grand Challenge on Artificial Intelligence and Data.

If we take literally the term ‘postdigital’, it implies what is beyond or after the digital, while at the same time recognising that ‘the digital’ is deeply embedded in ‘our’ world. Therefore we might question which and whose world, as the digital is not evenly distributed; more broadly we might question and define what ‘the digital’ is exactly. Becoming postdigital presumably does not mean abandoning technology to return to a pre-digital world, so can we identify what aspects we might want to retain or redistribute?   

If we decouple ‘the digital’ from specific technologies, we arrive at an ontology based on binary classifications and quantitative measurement. Taking this as a starting point, can we imagine AI and algorithmic cultures that are less binary and less quantitative? If a digital ontology relies on absolute language to differentiate and quantify things, a first task might be to question and redefine AI and algorithmic cultures in a way that avoids this. We therefore question the terms ‘artificial’, ‘intelligence’, ‘algorithmic’ and ‘culture’ as singular, distinct things, and take a more qualitative, more inclusive approach.   

Key Researchers

Dr Kevin Walker

Dr Phaedra Shanbaum


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