Sue Curry Jansen and I, in a double review of Kate Crawford’s Atlas of AI (Yale, 2021) and Frank Pasquale’s The New Laws of Robotics (Harvard, 2020):
What Crawford and Pasquale draw out is that AI is a way of seeing the world—a lay epistemology. When we see the world through the lens of AI, we see extraction-ready data. We see countable aggregates everywhere we look. We’re always peering ahead, predicting the future with machinist probabalism. It’s the view from Palo Alto that feels like a god’s eye view. From up there, the continents look patterned and classification-ready. Earth-bound disorder is flattened into clear signal. What AI sees, in Crawford’s phrase, is a “Linnaean order of machine-readable tables.” It is, in Pasquale’s view, an engineering mindset that prizes efficiency over human judgment.
The piece appears in The b2o Review.