For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The Nooscope manifested: AI as instrument of knowledge extractivism"

by Pasquinelli, Matteo; Joler, Vladan (2020)


Some enlightenment regarding the project to mechanise reason. The assembly line of machine learning: data, algorithm, model. The training dataset: the social origins of machine intelligence. The history of AI as the automation of perception. The learning algorithm: compressing the world into a statistical model. All models are wrong, but some are useful. World to vector: the society of classification and prediction bots. Faults of a statistical instrument: the undetection of the new. Adversarial intelligence vs. statistical intelligence: labour in the age of AI.

Key Passage

In the expression ‘artifcial intelligence’, the adjective ‘artifcial’ carries the myth of the technology’s autonomy; it hints to caricatural ‘alien minds’ that self-reproduce in silico but, actually, mystifes two processes of proper alienation; the growing geopolitical autonomy of hi-tech companies and the invisibilization of workers’ autonomy worldwide. The modern project to mechanise human reason has clearly mutated, in the twenty first century, into a corporate regime of knowledge extractivism and epistemic colonialism. (p.1)


Ethical Machine Learning, Information Compression, Mechanised Knowledge, Nooscope, Political Economy


Digital Labour, Automation

Links to Reference



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