In his 1970 “New Plea for Diagonal Science,” ex-surrealist Roger Caillois called for deeper correspondences between humanist aesthetic research and the “natural” sciences. “Research itself suffers,” he wrote, “when each scientist, burrowing away in his own special tunnel as if he were some efficient and myopic mole, operates like a complete maverick, like a miner who is digging ever deeper, almost utterly unaware of the discoveries made by fellow workers in neighboring galleries, and even more so of the results in distant quarries. What we need are relay stations at every level.”
A ”diagonal” science, for Caillois, cuts across methodologies by radically centering common objects. BMO Lab aims to do just this for machine learning and artificial intelligence, establishing “relay stations” between researchers with shared interest in what AI reveals about our social, aesthetic, and natural worlds.
“Diagonal,” a reading group and speaker series, hosts conversations between Toronto-based scholars, technologists, and makers on the philosophical, political, artistic, economic, and scientific consequences of recent developments in A.I. To join, contact Douglas Eacho at email@example.com .
Meetings and Events
- Diagonal: “Enchanting Infrastructure: New Approaches to AI” – Feb. 5, 2021Here is the recording of the event: (the very active chat that took place during this event is presented in full below.) How should the recent explosion of research, investment, and discourse around "artificial intelligence" be critically understood? Which methods, traditions, and narratives from the humanities and social sciences are fit to grasp these unusual … Read more
- Diagonal Reading Group: “Cloud Ethics” by Louise Amoore – Jan 8, 2021On January 8th, The Diagonal Reading Group held its second meeting. We discussed Louise Amoor's Cloud Ethics: Algorithms and the Attributes of Ourselves and Others. It was again a lively and invigorating discussion. Thanks to everyone who participated! Doug Eacho's Invitation prior to the event: Louise Amoore is a Professor of Geography at the University … Read more
- Diagonal Reading Group: “Anatomy of an AI.” – Dec. 10December 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 … Read more