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Master

Co-Performances, AI and Experiences, WiSe 2018/19

The way people and things interact has been very clear for a long time. Things are passive, inanimate objects that lay around. Made by and for people who are active users and make use of things in their activities. For instance, a hammer is used by a person to drive a nail into a wall (e.g. to hang up a picture). Even in the digital era things predominantly remained tools – items that can be used to achieve a goal. For instance, a smartphone offers several applications that enable users to do things. A digital calendar enables people to organize their everyday life (synchronized on all devices and shared with other people). Again, a user does something and an object is utilized. Autonomous and learning systems fundamentally change this understanding. Without stressing Heidegger, a hammer would never drive a nail into any wall to hang up a picture on its own (based on its technical properties) and proactively (based on its passive- and inanimateness). Autonomous and learning systems are more than just tools. They have an agency. They are likely to take initiative, to plan tasks and carry them out independently. How do these systems interact with people? Like a slave, a friend, a teammate or a smartass of an expert? And how will our everyday practices change with those systems? Will the machines take over or will we interact in some sort of co-performance? 

In this literature seminar, we will read a choice of texts addressing these questions. However, we will not only read texts. Predominantly, we will discuss.