Benjamin Bratton: Master class 2 (October 22, 2015)

Benjamin Bratton begins his talk on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the city with a fable with the message: The future city isn’t for us (humans). Critiquing the traditional distinction between sensing and thinking, he argues for a more thorough-going materialism. Bratton argues that Hayek’s thesis that state-directed economic planning was impossible because no one system could gather the necessary information, has been overcome by the interlinked global financial system and corporations like Amazon. This concentration of massive computing power and data need not result in expanded neoliberalism or totalitarianism. The positive aspect is that these platforms have expanded the idea of a User beyond a person to a proliferation of non-human and hybrid other Users. Bratton argues that instead of worrying about machines that want to be human–as in most science fiction–we should be trying to evolve and learn with our non-human neighbors.



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