11:45 - 12:15
Artificial Intelligence: A Network Of Labor

Short thesis

It's becoming increasingly hard to tell computers and humans apart which could mean that we're entering an exciting age of exponential growth of intelligence and of eternal life. I will however approach this development by focusing on the invisible manual labor and the constant exploitation of our cognitive and bodily capacities that are necessary for building AI. In doing so, it might turn out that telling apart AI and an efficiently run corporation is in fact becoming even more difficult.


With the omnipresence of computation and connectivity, artificial intelligence and all the hopes and fears it provokes seem to come to life. While this is exciting for many – an explosion of intelligence which could even lead to eternal life – others are worried that our machines will turn against us (somewhere in the middle, we are all simply happy to finally have an assistant because we all need and deserve one, don't we?).

In this talk, I will follow neither of these two paths. Instead, as an artist I critically approach AI as an efficient but exploitative mode of organizing networks and especially of organizing networked labor. And as such a mode, AI has already become a reality in which we are both the bodies and the minds that make AI possible as a mega corporation. In a network of labor this means that everything we see, do, touch and decide becomes a micro job. Furthermore, AI allows for the extraction of our cognitive resource which could very well lead to the paradox that the more we work the more obsolete we become. And the more we decide now, the less we might be able to decide on our own in the future. Trapped in a system of effective norms and biases.

And so it turns out: the increasing difficulty of telling apart humans and computers isn't only a result of machines becoming intelligent – they might indeed become intelligent one day – but  is in fact a result of the dehumanising effect that these conditions have on us (one of the consequence being that in many cases the digital assistant we believe to deserve is actually a person having to pretend being a somewhat intelligent machine).