Imaginary Friends: Ways of Attending to Other, Artificial, or Possible Minds

2020-06-29T22:04:41Z (GMT) by Matt Prindible
Beginning with the early-2016 match between DeepMind’s AlphaGo and world champion 9-dan Go player Lee Sedol, this thesis project seeks to expand upon the poetics of interactions with nonhuman intelligences by tracing a path through philosophical, theoretical, and scientific literature. The work of philosophers Andy Clark and David Chalmers and their theory of an extended mind is used to frame a mind that can recruit external things in the physical world to become part of its own cognitive processes. As this, in principle, includes other minds, the work of postmodern literary critic N. Katherine Hayles is used to expand this world of intelligence beyond conscious beings. And finally, scientific and anecdotal evidence is used to discuss how particular bodies and environments give rise to radically different subjective inner experiences.

Several “material approximations” of these concepts, in the form of computer vision, plants, and slime molds, are studied in order to begin framing design activities. The complex and often indeterminate behavior of thinking things challenges the ability to create discrete and logical interactions and is reconsidered through multispecies feminist theorist Donna Haraway’s and philosopher and video game designer Ian Bogost’s work on playfulness as a human and cross-species capability. This is demonstrated through a series of design charrettes and a discussion on future work that hints at a vision of minds and intelligence informed by looking around, rather than ahead.