Previously at the ICA - Events

William Davies: Against Intelligence

William Davies: Against Intelligence

7 Mar 2018

A Conversation at the Crossroads  

Increasingly we are told that we are on the cusp of a new and dangerous era, one in which artificial intelligence will replace a rapidly-growing range of human functions resulting in job destruction and a post-human society where machines are indistinguishable from people. The rise of 'affective computing' indicates that machines are becoming capable of reading (perhaps even of experiencing) human feelings. However, this collapse of human and machine all depends on a privileging of intelligence of a relatively narrow variety.  

This talk by William Davies examines the roots of 'intelligence' and the military undertones of that term, and considers the range of human experiencesbeyond emotionsthat are not within the grasp of mere intelligence, be it human or non-human. It proposes a critique of intelligence, as a limited mode of thinking, which might threaten human existence but not replace or confront it philosophically.  

William Davies is Reader in Political Economy at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is author of The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Wellbeing (Verso, 2015) and The Limits of Neoliberalism: Authority, Sovereignty and the Logic of Competition (Sage, 2016). His writing is available on his official website.

This event is part of a series titled We Want Everything, programmed by Dr Stephen Wilson in collaboration with the ICA. The series is staged in collaboration with the ICA and the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon College of Arts postgraduate community. We Want Everything asks us to recognize the meaning of art and human life regardless of economic flows.

Given the neoliberal conditions we find our future-selves contending with, this public series of events explores human prerequisites such as citizenship, agency and the permission to experience any emotions. In an unstable field of bio-political inequalities, unconscious bias, data technologies, happiness industries and isolation, how do art and design practices maintain their love of complexity and deviation under the auspices of increased atomization?  

In collaboration with UAL, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon


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