Cognitive Infrastructures is the theme for Antikythera’s 2024 Synthetic Intelligence Studio in London, running June 21–July 19. Antikythera is a philosophy of technology think tank reorienting planetary computation. Applications are open for interdisciplinary researchers to join the one-month design-development studio working across philosophy, speculation, and code to explore unexpected interfaces between social and machine intelligence. Join the London in-person info-session on Wednesday February 7 at 5:30pm, or the virtual info-session on Tuesday February 13 at 5:30pm London time.
What are cognitive infrastructures
As artificial intelligence becomes infrastructural, and as societal infrastructures become more cognitive, the relation between AI theory and practice needs realignment. Across scales and back again, from world-datafication and data visualization, to users and UI, many of the most interesting problems in AI design are still embryonic.
Natural Intelligence emerges at environmental scale and in the interactions of multiple agents. It is located not only in brains but in active landscapes. Similarly, artificial intelligence is not contained within single artificial minds but extends throughout the networks of planetary computation: it is baked into industrial processes; it generates images and text; it coordinates circulation in cities; it senses, models and acts in the wild.
This represents an infrastructuralization of AI, but also a “making cognitive” of both new and legacy infrastructures. These AIs are capable of responding to us, to the world and to each other, in ways we recognize as embedded and networked cognition.
AI is increasingly physicalized, from user interfaces on the surface of handheld devices to deep below the built environment. As we interact with the world, we retrain model weights, making actions newly reflexive, knowing that performing an action is also a way of representing it within a model. To play with the model is to remake the model, increasingly in real time.
How might this transform human-AI interaction design? What happens when the production and curation of data is for models that are increasingly generalized, multimodal, and foundational? How might the collective intelligence of generative AI make the world not only queryable, but re-composable in new ways? How will simulations collapse the distances between the virtual and the real? How will human societies align toward the insights and affordances of AI, rather than AI bending to human constructs? Ultimately, how will the inclusion of a fuller range of planetary information, beyond traces of individual human users, expand what counts as intelligence?
Antikythera’s Cognitive Infrastructures studio will unfold from several interrelated speculative briefs for intellectual and practical exploration, including:
–Civilizational overhang and productive disalignment
–HAIID: human-AI interaction design
–Toy world policies
–Generative AI and massively-distributed prompting
–Multimodal LLM interfaces
–Data provenance and providence: the good, the poisoned, and the collapsed
–The planetary across human and inhuman languages
Apply by March 1
The studio will select 12–18 interdisciplinary, full time funded studio researchers (engineers, designers, scientists, philosophers, writers and technologists, amongst others) to develop speculative prototypes and propositions in response to briefs investigating the socialization of machine intelligences at planetary scale. The studio will be held full time, in-person at Central Saint Martins—University of the Arts London, with special events including lectures, gatherings, and salons unfolding at sites across London.
Selected studio researchers will work with a network of affiliate researchers, including collaborators from Google Research/ Deepmind, Cambridge Centre for the Future of Intelligence, Cambridge Centre for Existential Risk, and many others. Special seminars, lectures and workshops will be hosted by Director of Antikythera Benjamin Bratton, Google Research/ Deep Mind VP Technology and Society Blaise Aguera Y Arcas, Cambridge Centre for Existential Risk Historian Thomas Moynihan, Science-fiction author Chen Qiufan, Astrophysicist and co-developer of Assembly Theory Sara Walker, and others.