Due to the coronavirus crisis the course starts online only via video-conference



The course helps students to understand the vast debate on automation, cognitive labour and creativity focusing, specifically, on the potential impact of AI on the automation of manual and creative skills. The course provides a historical genealogy of the transition to post-industrialism: it starts from the 19th century forgotten debate on mental labour (that includes also Marx’s notion of the general intellect) and moves to the exposition of 20th century critical notions such knowledge economy, information society and cognitive capitalism.

Attention is given to the 21st century developments of these economies  (such as the marketing of the so-called Creative Class, the legal definition of Creative Commons and grassroots projects such as Platform Cooperativism) and, especially, to the recent dramatic impact of AI on such developments. For instance, in the early 2000s nobody could predict that the large online repository of images credited under Creative Commons licenses would become, a decade later, unregulated resources to train neural networks (also for surveillance technologies). 

The course ends discussing AI tools for Assisted Creation and Generative Creation and which kind of future HfG students should expect in a job market in which AI is gradually used for the automation of creative skills.

A certificate (Schein) is possible with credit in Media Philosophy. Students can a) make a project presentation in class and write a short essay (10 pages), or b) write an extensive essay (20 pages). All materials will be shared via Dropbox. For questions or to register please send an email to: mpasquinelli [∂]


Prof. Dr. Matteo Pasquinelli
mpasquinelli [∂]

Mondays 15:00 – 19:00 / online
Fortnightly, 14-täglich!
First class: 4 May  2020.



Classes follow indicatively the following structure.

  1. The Machinery Question in the Industrial Revolution.
  2. The origins of Marx’s general intellect and the debate on mental labour.
  3. The Information Revolution and its reception in critical theory.
  4. Fully Automated Luxury Communism? The ambivalence of automation.
  5. Ghost work and cultural commons as unregulated source to train AI.
  6. Labour in the age of AI: seven theses for workers’ rights.
  7. The impact of AI on the future of manual and creative skills.