Machine Agencies


Machine Agencies is an interdisciplinary group of researchers working with various topics associated with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related technologies. The main questions that the research group works with come from social and cultural concerns.

The group aims to investigate what kinds of cultural resources are mobilized to define the activities of AI agents in various contexts (games, domestic spaces). In the current cultural landscape, the agencies of these artifacts are mainly defined by commercial discourses: they are assistants (Alexa), pets (Aibo), and friends (Replika). Machine Agencies problematizes this flow of meaning: coming from the market and into situated social interactions. Technologies carry with themselves traces of meaning that are inscribed through their context of production, and thus frames with which they circulate the market - their advertising, the manner in which they are imagined in the market- becomes more and more involved in the daily lives of people. However, there are possibilities for different articulations to emerge, and this group researches what would be the conditions through which such frames of meaning could come into being. The group, thus, aims to contribute to culture different categories with which to understand such agents, and in this sense, it takes seriously the social sciences’ potential for producing transformative knowledge. Consequently, the research group addresses the gap between academia and public discourse; and holds a transformative approach to bridge that gap.

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