12.01. If everything is true. Knowledge and Manipulation (HKW, Berlin)

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Curated by Bernd Scherer and Olga von Schubert

From the linguistic development of so-called Artificial Intelligence to the decentralized structure of the blockchain, new technologies operate on the basis of training sets, into which are inscribed prejudices, world views, material infrastructures, and ownership logic. To what extent do the metaphors of intelligence and learning apply to the new technologies?

Who writes the protocols of algorithmic infrastructures and on the basis of which semiotic and semantic processes do they operate? Where do the opportunities for emancipation, self-determination, diversity, and decentralization lie within the realm of technological development? To what extent does it make sense to renounce the quest for meaning in the technological development of language, and what kind of algorithmic poetry does this engender? Taking as reference the work of Luc Steels, one of the world’s leading AI developers, artistic and activist positions are deployed to explore the development of technological language.

Giulia Bruno, Kate Crawford, Simon Denny, Armin Linke, Trevor Paglen, Felix Stalder, Luc Steels, Hito Steyerl, moderated by Bernd Scherer

Timetable of the event (PDF)

Detailed program infomation and essays (PDF)

my contribution:

HKW, AUDITORIUM 5:30 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.

IF EVERYTHING IS TRUE—KNOWLEDGE AND MANIPULATION
Felix Stalder (media and cultural theorist), lecture

Digital technologies provide the means to apprehend the rapidly growing complexity of our modern day, and render it accessible to human perception. Yet, at the same time, they destabilize our relationship to the world, since many of these new tools not only privatize knowledge but also instrumentalize it. This is not about the truth, not even about predicting
the future, but about altering the trajectory of the future.

We are at an impasse. Traditional methods can no longer address the problems, and new methods are under the tight control of just a few players who are pursuing their own security-related and economic objectives. Fresh courses of action could emerge if we were able to embed these tools explicitly within the existing social and ecological complexity, instead of striving to manipulate reality from the outside.