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Interpretation Machines: Contradictions of “Artificial Intelligence” in 21st Century Capitalism
Sun, February 14, 2021 @ 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM$7.00 – $30.00
with Larry Lohmann
BYOND DIGITAL CAPITALISM: NEW WAYS OF LIVING (presentation 3)
Since the nineteenth century, left movements have sought footholds among the ever-renewing contradictions of capitalist industrial mechanization and its relation to work and energy. These experiments, begun by Marx, remain fragmentary and contested. Yet the crises that twenty-first century digital mechanization presents and exacerbates may shed new light on this longer history of automation even as they confront the left with fresh puzzles.
This talk proposes three responses to these challenges. 1) It may be more useful to movement organizing to stress continuities between industrial-era and digital-era value-creation than to focus only on differences. 2) The contradiction between living and dead labor that Marx identified not only persists in today’s digital economy, but also remains fundamental both to understanding crisis and to identifying possibilities for radical political change. 3) It may make more strategic sense for the left to approach the striking innovations in automation advanced over the past decade by the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba, Microsoft, and Apple as a new level of the mechanization of interpretive work than to promote mystifying labels such as artificial intelligence (AI).
Larry Lohmann works with The Corner House, a UK-based solidarity and research organization.
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