In Other Words: Smart Compose and the Consequences of Writing in the Age of AI–Crystal Chokshi

In this paper, I lean into debates and concepts surrounding media as extractive technology as a way into other debates altogether: the history, technologies, and consequences of writing. Combining scholarly work on the topics of critical media studies, critical algorithm studies, platform studies, and linguistic capitalism, I contextualize the current moment in this history, elaborating how platforms and AI shift ‘the semantic coordinates’ (Striphas 2015: 398) of what it means to write.

Optimal Brain Damage: Theorizing our Nervous Present–Johannes Bruder & Orit Halpern

The neural imaginary is the idea that populations of neurons can be aligned with the behavior of populations of humans, and that models which abstract from the nature of a population’s elements can explain such seemingly incomparable phenomena as learning, financial crises, and the spread of a virus during the current pandemic. As we hope to demonstrate, the seemingly dated and insignificant neural imaginary thus has enormous impact on the future management of planetary populations and life through technological means, for it suggests transferring knowledge about how the brain protects itself against the effects of information overload to neural networks and societies.

Big Bad Social Media: Distributed Affects and Popular Politics – Bishnupriya Ghosh

Those with access to digital media are often aware of their access as a privilege not available to all; the drive to quantify is a willed use of media capacities to highlight the part that does not have access. Because affiliation bonds with the surplus and recognizes it as such, recognizes it cannot be fully counted, the relationship is necessarily beyond the personal: the part of the part will always remain unknowable, anonymous. Whether or not social media users disclose their identity what they disclose about the part that they seek to make visible is that it is fundamentally different.

From Populist Media to Media Populism – Giuseppe Fidotta, Joshua Neves and Joaquin Serpe

If our approach in this framing essay emphasizes the import of media infrastructures and techno-human processes for understanding populism, and political life more broadly—what we frame as a shift from populist media to media populism—this is not to diminish the critical need for accounts of political subjectivity, aesthetics, discourse, and the like. But it is to observe that such processes have been basically transformed by our computational habitus.