Bot Pedagogy

Bot Pedagogy

In Intersubjectivity Vol. II: Scripting the Human, eds. Lou Cantor and Katherine Rochester (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2018)

This essay examines the emergent field of “bot pedagogy,” which relies on artificial intelligence agents to perform information delivery, staging the encounter between teacher and student as a unidirectional data stream. My essay asks what kinds of subjects might be constituted in the space of such encounters, and which dimensions of critical pedagogy are foreclosed when teaching is coded as the purview of algorithmic agents. To approach the relationship between contemporary forms of cognitive labor and the structures of cognitive computing, I turn to the videos and lecture-performances of Carey Young. In works like Everything You’ve Heard is Wrong (1999) and I Am a Revolutionary (2001), Young teaches—or is taught—to perform friction-free information transmission. Each instance, I argue, orchestrates a scene of programming the artist-educator as data delivery system. Across vignettes where Young undertakes training that aspires to the condition of the bot, her videos illustrate how an exemplary scene of bot pedagogy might unfold.

On Intersubjectivity Vol. II: Scripting the Human:

“The second in a series of edited volumes on intersubjectivity, this collection of essays considers the relationship between performance, subjectivity, and human agency. Certain texts explore the ways in which performance is decoupled from human embodiment via forms of mediation, mechanical reproduction, or simulation. Others seek to examine how performance is conceptualized. Encompassing both historical and speculative perspectives, Scripting the Human explores the ways in which non-human (or trans/post-human) entities complicate notions of subjectivity and exert intersubjective pressures of their own on social, political, scientific, and philosophical discourses. Might the interaction between two chatbots—whose behavioral patterns are modeled on human traits—be intersubjective, or are they simply scripted? Can scripting the human lead to transformative encounters or does it produce a closed system whose complexity obscures its ultimate limitations? Ranging from the origins of contemporary conceptions of intersubjectivity in continental philosophy to more recent formulations that derive from systems theory, trans identity, and the emergent field of bot pedagogy, Scripting the Human approaches intersubjectivity as both historical phenomenon and nascent mode of present-day relation.”