Guest Lecture

Financializing Intelligence: Neural Nets, AI, and Economy

Event Information

  • Monday, June 26, 2023
  • 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
  • Advokatenweg 36
  • 06114 Halle (Saale)

Financializing Intelligence: Neural Nets, AI, and Economy

Prof. Dr. Orit Halpern (Technische Universität Dresden)

Abstract of Lecture

“In this talk I will examine the historical relationship between the automation of decision making, freedom, and democracy after the 1970’s. The central focus will be on conceptions of decision making and collectivity. Through an examination of financial technologies, economic thought, architecture, and aesthetic practices, I will examine how concepts of democracy and intelligence were transformed through novel technical practices and ideas. I do so to trace a historical genealogy of how freedom and democracy came to be linked to self-organizing, networked intelligences, and non-conscious decision making. Analogous to this development is also the shift to ideas of democracy and freedom as not averse to, but supported by, machinic decision making in both people and machines. At stake is the question of how democracy and citizenship moved from being envisioned as demanding consciousness and effort, to an equation that envisions freedom from thought, and convenience, as political freedom.” (Prof. Orit Halpern)


Bio Sketch

Orit Halpern is Full Professor and Chair of Digital Cultures at Technische Universität Dresden. Her work bridges the histories of science, computing, and cybernetics with design. She completed her Ph.D. at Harvard. She has held numerous visiting scholar positions including at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, IKKM Weimar,  and at Duke University. She is currently working on two projects. The first is a history of automation, intelligence, and freedom;  the second project examines extreme infrastructures and the history of experimentation at planetary scales in design, science, and engineering. 

She has also published widely in many venues including Critical Inquiry, Grey Room, and Journal of Visual Culture, and E-Flux. Her first book Beautiful Date: A History of Vision and Reason (Duke UP 2015) investigates histories of big data, design, and governmentality. Her current book with Robert Mitchell (forthcoming MIT Press December 2022) is titled the Smartness Mandate. The book is a genealogy of our current obsession with smart  technologies and artificial intelligence.  


Where and When:

Max Planck Institut für Ethnologische Forschung
Advokatenweg 36, 06114 Halle (Saale)
Main Seminar Room
26.06.2023 at 12:00
Everybody is welcome to attend!
Organized by Prof. Dr. Patrick Vonderau