S1, Alison Richard Building, West Road
CB3 9DT  Cambridge (UK)



Monday 14th Jan, 17:30-19:00 (moderator: Winnie Soon or Anne Alexander)

The Undetection of the New: An Overview of Machine Learning Limitations and Their Social Impact

Matteo Pasquinelli, Professor in Media Philosophy University of Arts and Design, Karlsruhe

All machine learning systems are basically a sophisticated version of “perception” that is a form of pattern recognition that can be extended also to non-visual datasets. However, what machine learning in general calculates is not an exact pattern but a statistical distribution of it. The statistical models of machine learning bring about a new breed of errors and limits yet to be properly understood and discussed in their impact on the collective body and society (such as bias amplification, category reduction, taxonomy reduction, diversity loss, style normalization, regression to the mean, and more). The paper tries to address the technopolitical limits of machine learning providing an overview of the social impact of its logical limitations.

Respondent: Alan Blackwell, Professor of Interdisciplinary Design, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge



Matteo Pasquinelli is Professor in Media Philosophy at the University of Arts and Design, Karlsruhe, where he is coordinating the research group on critical machine intelligence KIM. He recently edited the anthology Alleys of Your Mind: Augmented Intelligence and Its Traumas (Meson Press) among other books. His research focuses the intersection of cognitive sciences, digital economy and machine intelligence. For Verso Books he is preparing a monograph provisionally titled The Eye of the Master: Capital as Computation Cognition.

Alan Blackwell is Professor of Interdisciplinary Design in the University of Cambridge Department of Computer Science and Technology. After an early career as an artificial intelligence engineer working mainly in factory automation and transport, further academic study in comparative religion, performing arts and psychology led to his current research interests in the broadest questions of technology in society. His group is dedicated to action research, designing new technologies as experimental social interventions, working in the field to understand contexts in which the Sustainable Development Goals present challenges to prevailing technocratic imaginations. He is research director of the Cambridge Global Challenges initiative, co-director of the Crucible network for research in Interdisciplinary Design, a board member of Cambridge Enterprise, and a trustee of the Centre for Global Equality.


This public event and PhD workshop is part of the Machine Feeling 2018 research workshop organised by APRJA(A Peer-Reviewed Journal), Aarhus University (Geoff Cox & Christian Ulrik Andersen), transmediale festival (Kristoffer Gansing & Daphne Dragona) Cambridge Digital Humanities Learning Programme, University of Cambridge (Anne Alexander).