Marx on Artificial Intelligence

Concern about machines replacing humans have been historically documented at least since the Destruction of Stocking Frames Act of 1812, authorizing death for those vandalizing machines, the famous Luddites. Karl Marx later summed up these fears (1992 [1867]) by stating that “within the capitalist system all methods for raising the social productivity of labour are put into effect at the cost of the individual worker. (p. 799)” This meant that while technology might be beneficial statistically, when considering large populations, it was damageable to workers as persons and to their individual flourishing. It is worth quoting Marx in full here:

All means for the development of production undergo a dialectical inversion so that they become means of domination and exploitation of the producers; they distort the worker into a fragment of a man, they degrade him to the level of an appendage of a machine, they destroy the actual content of his labour by turning it into a torment; they alienate from him the intellectual potentialities of the labour process in the same proportion as science is incorporated in it as an independent power. (p. 799)

This description is still valid today if artificial intelligence is to simply replace human agency, especially because AI is expected to produce an intellectual work, more and more efficient as computer science develops it as an independent power.

Marx, K. (1992 [1883]), Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. London: Penguin Classics.

François Jullien: What is a concept?

From Socrates to Levinas, a short history (in French) of the core of philosophy, the idea of concept. A beautiful course with a deflated ending. Jullien understands the heroism of the concept, but fails to conceive clearly of the crealectics of the concept, between alterity, singularity, on the one hand, and universalisation, identification on the other: an individual can asymptotically embody the concept she created. A concept is a becoming one, a bridge between the universal and the particular, over the Creal.


The Naivety of Transhumanists

In the academic journal Bioethics, Schiller (2017) writes that ‘The Artificial Replacement Thesis suggests that we should replace our species with artificial creatures who are capable of living better lives’ (p. 393). This kind of argument reflect the typical transhumanism naivety regarding human history: humans have not waited for AI to do just what the replacement thesis describes. We are not fully natural. The invention of language or writing for example allowed humanity to live better lives by becoming more artificial: the proof that language and writing are artificial is that they have, still today, to be learned, while most of us don’t have to learn to breathe (breathing is natural).

Schiller, D. (2017). In Defense of Artificial Replacement. Bioethics, 31 (5), 393–399.

Infinitely Creative Spirit (Hegel and the Creal)

There is a very active Hegel Study Group on Facebook. If only for that reason we can say that Facebook is still useful. Today I posted the sentences below, let’s see how the conversation unfolds:

“The supreme definition of the absolute is not that it is spirit in general, but that it is the Spirit absolutely manifests to itself, absolutely self-conscious, the infinitely creative Spirit.” (Hegel, 1971 – Encyclopedia of the philosophical sciences, W.Cerf & H.S. Harris (trans.) Albany, NY: SUNY Press.) Who would like to join me in studying the infinite creativity of Spirit in Hegel? My interest for this comes from a deep investment in the concept of Creal, which is the name I give to processual Spirit, a concept that unifies process philosophers such as Hegel, Bergson, Whitehead and Deleuze