Publication details

Aesthetics, Ecology and Google AI: A Preliminary Inquiry into Xenorationality



Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Sešit pro umění, teorii a příbuzné zóny
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Web Link - Journal
Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords aesthetics; rationality; speculative realism; Quentin Meillassoux; Anthropocene; artificial intelligence
Description This paper presents a blueprint for a new aesthetic theory which is informed by recent developments in the philosophy of speculative realism on the one hand, and capable of addressing issues arising from the ecological crisis and the emergence of artificial intelligence on the other. The primary point of departure here is the philosophy of Quentin Meillassoux and Immanuel Kant. Aesthetics is understood as a speculative investigation of the realm of possible assemblages (or compositions) of entities. Such assemblages manifest xenorationality – that is, non-human principles of association and composition. Drawing on the work of Alfred North Whitehead and Steven Shaviro, I define rationality as the investment of external objects into the human mind, rather than an autonomous subjective faculty. General genetics of xenorationality uncover the original exteriority and ancestrality of rational principles vis-á-vis the human subject. Furthermore, xenorational aesthetics is demonstrated on the example of Google AI AlphaGo program’s surprising move in the 2nd match against the world’s top Go player, Lee Sedol. This move was described by viewers as “inhuman” yet “beautiful”, and it will be argued that it was a manifestation of AlphaGo’s xenorationality. Lastly, the argument can be generalized to planetary ecosystem processes, leading to an assessment of the aesthetic experience of xenorationality in the process of cognitive mapping as the major driver of socio-political practices in the Anthropocene.
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