Deceitful Media: Artificial Intelligence and Social Life after the Turing Test

ISBN : 9780190080372

Simone Natale
200 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
May 2021
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is often discussed as something extraordinary, a dream-or a nightmare-that awakens metaphysical questions on human life. Yet far from a distant technology of the future, the true power of AI lies in its subtle revolution of ordinary life. From voice assistants like Siri to natural language processors, AI technologies use cultural biases and modern psychology to fit specific characteristics of how users perceive and navigate the external world, thereby projecting the illusion of intelligence. Integrating media studies, science and technology studies, and social psychology, Deceitful Media examines the rise of artificial intelligence throughout history and exposes the very human fallacies behind this technology. Focusing specifically on communicative AIs, Natale argues that what we call "AI" is not a form of intelligence but rather a reflection of the human user. Using the term "banal deception," he reveals that deception forms the basis of all human-computer interactions rooted in AI technologies, as technologies like voice assistants utilize the dynamics of projection and stereotyping as a means for aligning with our existing habits and social conventions. By exploiting the human instinct to connect, AI reveals our collective vulnerabilities to deception, showing that what machines are primarily changing is not other technology but ourselves as humans. Deceitful Media illustrates how AI has continued a tradition of technologies that mobilize our liability to deception and shows that only by better understanding our vulnerabilities to deception can we become more sophisticated consumers of interactive media.


Table of Contents
Chapter 1. The Turing Test: Cultural life of an idea
Chapter 2. How to dispel magic: Computers, interfaces, and the problem of the observer
Chapter 3. The Eliza effect: Joseph Weizenbaum and the emergence of chatbots
Chapter 4. Of daemons, dogs and trees: Situating AI in software
Chapter 5. How to create a bot: Programming deception at the Loebner Prize
Chapter 6. To believe in Siri: A critical analysis of voice assistants
Conclusion: Our sophisticated selves

About the author: 

Simone Natale, Associate Professor in Media Theory and History, University of Turin Simone Natale is Associate Professor in media theory and history at the University of Turin, Italy; Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded Circuits of Practice project at Loughborough University, UK; and Assistant Editor of Media, Culture and Society. He has been awarded fellowships and grants by organizations including the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK, the Humboldt Foundation in Germany, and Columbia University's Italian Academy in the US.

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