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Artificial Intelligence vs. Human Identity
Instructor: Luca Possati
A one-week intensive course!
Like electricity, artificial intelligence (AI) is an invisible force that has come to permeate the human world. But why do we feel the need to put intelligence—and even consciousness—in a machine? And what is the impact of AI on our own social and personal identities? In this course, we will explore these questions with key ideas from psychoanalysis and sociology as our guides.
According to psychoanalysis, we cannot think of identity as a substance or a solid core of the personality. Identification is an unstable, fragmented, and fluid process, and there is no identity construction without identity deconstruction. In related sociological literature, identity is viewed as a social practice: the self is constructed and deconstructed through interaction with the social context. Three concepts in particular are key to identification in the 21st century: Hartmut Rosa’s social acceleration, Anthony Elliott’s new individualism, and Mark Fisher’s capitalist realism.
AI is, at the same time, the cause and the effect of our contemporary struggles with identity. Various media narratives, especially in tech journalism, portray AI as an increasingly important agent in human society, capable of radically changing the nature of society itself. But upon closer investigation, these narratives reveal themselves as a myth that tells us more about ourselves than the realities of AI. It is in response to our identity crisis—a crisis partly caused by advancements in AI as a simulation and learning tool—that we, in turn, project our unconscious fears and desires onto AI.
Maximum enrollment: 10
18 hours (1 week)
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