Posthuman Intelligence OR The Importance of Digital Agenthood

in july, my first academic paper was accepted and published by the queer in ai workshop at the 2021 international conference on machine learning. i have a long history as an academic and a computer scientist. i earned a bachelors degree in computer science and a masters degree in interactive intelligence and i worked as a professional engineer for several years. nonetheless, committing to and writing this paper was difficult. particularly with academic work, i always worry that my writing is irrelevant, doesnt contribute, or worse is outright wrong in a way i dont anticipate and drags back the discourse it intends to bolster.

this paper came out of a class i led via construct college. a resident and i spent the spring semester this year reading about and discussing digital media and identity. during the class, i developed some language to describe what i was already feeling: my (our) interactions with intelligent machines challenged the concept of my (our) humanity. i supplemented our reading with a couple of books (becoming human x zakiyyah jackson and my mother was a computer x n. katherine hayles) and ended up with a well-researched, if strange, testament to how digtal and human identity interact.

im happy with how the paper turned out. i made a few edits for polish and consistency. i also have a raft of new thoughts on the topic even in the six weeks since its publication. but i think the paper succeeds in explaining the framework in my head. humans (whatever those are) are not alone on this planet. we share it with all manner of flora and fauna and inert matter and, more recently, intelligent machines. the earth has everything we need to support all of these entities; human society is positioned to ensure the continued truth of that statement. in this paper, i argue against anthropocentrism, against the presumption that humans have the authority to dominate all other beings, and for collaboration between all agents to ensure a prosperous, shared future.


marshall (gripp) gillson. multimedia digital humanities writer slash ai mad scientist. ey/em/eir