Reflections on George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Michel Foucault

It has become a fashion of dystopian writing and thinking to place George Orwell and Aldous Huxley side by side. Both writers were obsessed with power and the means to resist its all-pervading effects. But despite the clear similarities in subject-matter, they seem to offer very different accounts of the real danger behind power, as well as the means by which power gets a hold of us and how we can identify it to counter its influence. They offer varying interpretations of how power tends to either hide and reproduce itself anonymously or reveal itself in order to dazzle, scare…


“Where Are We Now?” Agamben’s Intervention

This small 100 page book was written by Giorgio Agamben and it could turn out to be the “Communist Manifesto” of the 21st century. It addresses the most deeply hidden hypocrisies concerning the current pandemic and the lockdown measures. The title of the first chapter speaks for itself: “The Invention of the Epidemic”, and it only gets worse from there. Agamben makes several radical pronouncements in his work. The discourse revolves around the central claim that the Pandemic is a political order of things in and of itself. …


Toward a Bio-Political Critique of Mathematical Language

The following text will attempt to provide a critical history, or counter-history of mathematical knowledge by combining the philosophical legacies of two prominent 20th-century thinkers. Ludwig Wittgenstein and Michel Foucault. Ludwig Wittgenstein offers one of the most controversial accounts of mathematical knowledge.

Wittgenstein’s philosophy of mathematics has often been termed (radical) conventionalism. It entails the rejection of any Platonic abstract realm of mathematical entities along with Empiricist, Formalist, and Intuitionistic accounts of proof. According to Wittgenstein, mathematical objects do not exist, there are no mathematical discoveries, and mathematics as such is not descriptive, but rather prescriptive.

Mathematics imposes a set…


Part I: A Genealogy of the Fighting Self

The work will attempt to trace a genealogy for the institution of professional boxing. Applying Michel Foucault’s method of Archeology and Biopolitical critique, the aim will be to demonstrate several things. First, that boxing has not been constituted as a proper object of Connaisance and therefore exhibits the same elusive features as for instance, Foucault’s conception of madness and the psychiatric ward. Instead, there is a proliferation of discourses that each constitute pugilism in their own way, with only a partial convergence of definitions, techniques, maneuvers, strikes, guards, postures and other discursive and non-discursive formations and practices. The various techniques…


Awakening from the Boolean Dream

I decided to delve deeper into the literature on AI and Psychoanalysis. Obviously, this is a very narrow and under-investigated field. You can imagine my surprise when I found a 1988 article by Sherry Turkle titled Artificial Intelligence and Psychoanalysis: A New Alliance. I kept wondering whether a psychoanalysis of artificial systems would be a sub-branch of another emerging field called Machine Behaviour. Assuming the relationship between the two would be similar to the relationship between empirical behavioristic psychology and traditional psychoanalysis. …


I recently came across an article that caught my attention. Written just last year. It draws a parallel between AI and psychoanalysis. Which seemed until now two completely divergent fields. It argues that we can psychoanalyze an AI. But how would that make sense? Machine Behavior, an emerging field in “psycho-robotics”, argues that it does.

“We need to study AI systems not merely as engineering artifacts, but as a class of social actors with particular behavioral patterns and ecology (Possati, L.M. 2020).”

It seems that for the psychoanalysts of Artificial Intelligence, the unconscious is structured more like a machine, a…


A teleological conception of history begins with Hegel and terminates with Foucault. The following text will not concern itself with Hegel and the Hegelian interpretation of history, it will not be an extensive analysis of the notion of historical teleology, nor will it attempt to discuss every thinker who has used this notion. Neither will it attempt to lay down a comprehensive history nor theory of the Subject. Instead, we will focus on a comparison between the historical and philosophical methodologies of Edmund Husserl and Michel Foucault and their respective theories of the Subject, while extending the antagonism between the…


Visual programming poses itself as a serious enigma to engineers. How could we teach an AI to identify visual patterns and decode images? The human brain has an amazing ability to process visual information. Rorschach inkblots testify to the level of creativity that can be achieved through visual projections. It is one of the most impressive evolutionary adaptations that ensured our survival in the past. “Any animal’s ability to survive depends in part on its ability to pick out structure in the visual mess that Nature confronts us with” (Du Sautoy, M., 2019).

The very same mechanism that was responsible…


The problem of pinning down, understanding, defining and reproducing creativity is where Artificial Intelligence meets Cognitive Science. In order to recreate creativity, we first need to see into the human code, that is, the conditions of possibility for human creativity. A distinction between Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science is similar to the distinction we have made previously in “Tinkering Production”: Defining Bioengineering between engineering and biology in order to define the techno-scientific notion of bioengineering. If the cognitive sciences attempt to understand and describe the human code, studies in Artificial Intelligence seek to reproduce it.

Human creativity is broken down…


“For a machine to be deemed truly creative requires one extra step: its contribution should be more than an expression of the coder’s creativity or that of the person who built the data set. That is the challenge Ada Lovelace believed was insurmountable” (Du Sautoy, M., 2019).

Written by Marcus Du Sautoy, distinguished professor of mathematics at Oxford University, the title of the book is more than self-explanatory; to my mind, it is one of the most original pieces on Artificial Intelligence. Du Sautoy surprises the reader with an entirely novel approach. Not only does he focus on the most…

Giorgi Vachnadze

Philosopher

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