December 10, 2020: Kate Crawford’s and Vladen Jolar’s “Anatomy of an AI.”
On December 10, Diagonal held its first session, discussing Kate Crawford’s and Vladen Jolar’s “Anatomy of an AI.” We dug into Crawford’s attention to the material infrastructure supporting internet-of-things/”AI” devices such as the Amazon Echo, with wide praise for the project’s focus on mining as integral to this technology, and mapping of income inequality and economies of data extractions. Yet we questioned the specificity of the project towards a critique of artificial intelligence. To what extent is AI exceptional from other advanced new technologies within globalized capitalism? Is AI exceptionally opaque? Some argued it is definitionally so, as designers of AIs cannot describe how they come to their ‘decisions’; others countered that AI is in fact a transparent realm: AI renders cognition legible, as its code can be read.