CfP Machine Intelligences in Context: Beyond the Technological Sublime

A special issue of Culture Machine edited by Peter Jakobsson, Anne Kaun & Fredrik Stiernstedt, to be published Juanuary 2021

This special issue is a long overdue confrontation with the hype surrounding artificial intelligence. The supposed blessings that AI will bestow upon datafied societies, as well as the associated dangers, are now well-known both to the academic specialist and to the general public. Representatives from the tech sector and the world of politics claim that the fourth industrial revolution will be powered by AI and that AI will eventually become ubiquitous within politics, industry, culture and in everyday life. The impulse behind this special issue is to interrogate these prophesies a bit closer and to get a look behind the shiny surfaces of these new, often unseen technologies. Because it does seem that what AI actually promises, and most of all, what it actually delivers, is neither found in the realm of the fantastic nor the uncanny, and a lot of it is not even particularly new, intelligent or artificial.

The task of this special issue is thus to provide a counter-narrative to the dominant accounts of AI. It is not a matter of debunking AI, of unmasking the ideological interests behind it or revealing its dirty algorithmic secrets, but of putting AI in its critical contexts beyond the technological sublime – ie. the myths surrounding current technological developments that are meant to inspire both awe and fantasies of control and mastery. By combining phenomena that do not normally go together, such as AI and intersectionality, this special issue seeks to un-familiarize the familiar and to make unexpected connections, while also exploring potential critical and more just futures. One question that seems particularly pertinent to ask is of the relations, substitutions and combinations of different forms of intelligence, both human and more than human, and to explore how these come together in different contexts.  Contributions that employ critical perspectives from either the social sciences or the humanities are welcome, but we also invite and encourage experimental and transdisciplinary approaches, including contributions from the information sciences, software studies, and articles focused on case studies of AI with stakes for Latin America, Asia, and Africa.  

We welcome proposals that address, build upon and expand the following topics:

  • Critical interrogations of definitions and conceptualizations of intelligence(s)
  • Pluralities of machine intelligences
  • Sensory capacities and AI
  • The biopolitics and geopolitics of AI
  • Sex, gender and AI
  • Race and AI
  • Critical interrogations of AI narratives
  • Critical perspectives on AI sited in the Global South
  • Progressive regulation of AI

Please submit a 500-word abstract and 2 page CV to by 1 March 2020

Submission of abstracts

Notification of acceptance

Submission of full papers

Peer Review



1 March 2020

20 March 2020

September 2020

15 November 2020

15 December 2020

January 2021