David M. Berry

Professor für Digital Humanities, University of Sussex, UK

Aufenthalt am Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
September 2019, November 2019

Forschungsthema am Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
»Critical Theory, Artificial Intelligence and Explainability«

In this research I plan to explore the implications of explainability for the critical theory, and particularly the concept of explainability it gives rise to. This is increasingly relevant to the growing public visibility of artificial intelligence and machine-learning projects and the potential for the application of machine learning drawn from these approaches. This is an extremely difficult requirement for computational systems to achieve. By situating the questions over explainability in terms of theories and concepts drawn from critical theory, such as notions of instrumental rationality, the dialectic of enlightenment, standardisation and related problems of the political economy and commodity fetishism will create an extremely deep set of philosophical and theoretical questions. For example, the question of interpretation is hugely simplified in the proposals over explainability, the question of an interpreting subject, its capacities and its relation to assumed notions of truth are also suggestive. This research explores how power and life chances are redistributed where cognitive capacities themselves are subject to the market and therefore unequally available to the public. I therefore propose to explore explainability as a normative justification and as a technical project in light of these questions, and extend the debate over explainability into questions of interpretation through a notion of »understandability«. That is, to understand how justifications from the domains of a formal, technical and causal models of explanation have replaced that of understanding and thereby give rise to tensions and social conflict. The aim is to situate the current debates over explainability within a historical constellation of concepts but also to provide an immanent critique of the claims and justifications of »smart« technologies that build on artificial and machine-learning techniques, particularly in light of their impacts on cognitive proletarianisation, political economy and what we might call the structural transformation of the informational and cognitive capacity of societies under conditions of digital technicity. (David M. Berry)

Während seines Aufenthalts am Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften arbeitet David M. Berry mit Klaus Günther (Professor für Rechtstheorie, Strafrecht und Strafprozessrecht an der Goethe-Universität) zusammen.

Wissenschaftliches Profil von David M. Berry

David M. Berry erforscht die theoretischen und medienspezifischen Herausforderungen beim Verständnis digitaler und computergestützter Medien. Seine Arbeit stützt sich auf digitale Geisteswissenschaften, kritische Theorie, politische Ökonomie, Sozialtheorie, Softwareforschung und die Philosophie der Technik. Als Professor für Digitale Geisteswissenschaften interessiert ihn, wie Berechnung in die kunst- und geisteswissenschaftliche und sozialwissenschaftliche Praxis integriert wird. In diesem Zusammenhang untersucht er derzeit, wie künstliche Intelligenz und maschinelles Lernen in Bezug auf kunst- und geisteswissenschaftliches Wissen artikuliert werden - insbesondere Vorstellungen von Augmentation, Automatisierung und Information. Insbesondere geht es ihm darum, wie Wissen, Organisation und Berechnung zu neuen Machtkonstellationen geformt werden.

Weitere Informationen zu David M. Berry finden Sie hier.

Algorithmen, Code, Berechnung, Kritische Digitale Geisteswissenschaften, Kritische Theorie, Philosophie, Politische Ökonomie, Sozial- und politische Theorie, Softwareforschung

Veröffentlichungen (Auswahl):
  1. (mit Anders Fagerjord) Digital humanities: knowledge and critique in a digital age, Cambridge: Polity Press 2017.
  2. Critical theory and the digital. Critical theory and contemporary society, New York: Bloomsbury 2014.
  3. The philosophy of software: code and mediation in the digital age, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2011.
  4. Copy, rip, burn: the politics of copyleft and open source, London: Pluto Press 2008.