(edited by) Ben Vickers & K Allado-McDowell – Atlas of Anomalous AI


Ignota Books, ISBN-13: 978-1999675950, English, 303 pages, 2020, UK

Bringing together an interdisciplinary group of experts from the fields of computer science and culture, this book confronts the main problems we face when we delegate the development of AI to the technology industry. Drawing on three historical approaches (Symbolic AI, Connectionism and Deep Learning), the book is divided into three sections: Models, focusing on AI as a unique intelligent signature; Prediction, looking at AI as a prophetic machine; and Mind, exploring the relationship between machine and human interpretation, comprehension and cognition. The broader ambition is to trace the path of the AI industry so far and question where it might go in the future. In this respect, this book discusses all the principles and problems of AI and sets in motion an inclusive debate that features essays by writers as diverse as Yuk Hui, Hito Steyerl, Benjamin Bratton and Jose Luis Borges. Visually, apart from a few artist plates, there is an explicit reference to Mnemosyne Atlas from Aby Warburg. The selected images are an ambiguous visual stimulus, adding seemingly mysterious elements until one understands their role via a detailed description at the end of the book. There are books that set out to open the reader’s mind in relation to a particular subject, and this one seems almost scientifically programmed to do that.