After Alignment: Orienting Synthetic Intelligence Beyond Human Reflection

After Alignment: Orienting Synthetic Intelligence Beyond Human Reflection

Berggruen Institute

Courtesy of Antikythera

June 26, 2023
After Alignment: Orienting Synthetic Intelligence Beyond Human Reflection
Lecture by Benjamin Bratton, Director, Antikythera: June 28, 6pm
Platform Theatre at Central Saint Martins
1 Handyside St
London N1C 4AA
United Kingdom
Twitter / Instagram

What does it mean to ask machine intelligence to “align” to human wishes and self-image? Is this a useful tactic for design, or a dubious metaphysics that obfuscates how intelligence as a whole might evolve? Given that AI and the philosophy of AI have evolved in a tight coupling, informing and delimiting one another, how should we rethink this framework in both theory and practice?

The emergence of machine intelligence must be steered toward planetary sapience in the service of viable long term futures. Instead of strong alignment with human values and superficial anthropocentrism, the steerage of AI means treating these humanisms with nuanced suspicion, and recognizing its broader potential. At stake is not only what AI is, but what a society is, and what AI is for. What should align with what?

Synthetic intelligence refers to the wider field of artificially-composed intelligent systems that do and do not correspond to Humanism’s traditions. These systems, however, can complement and combine with human cognition, intuition, creativity, abstraction and discovery. Inevitably, both are forever altered by such diverse amalgamations.

In After Alignment, Benjamin Bratton will discuss shifts from AGI to artificial generic intelligence, the importance of recursive simulations, the decentering of personal data, the challenges of AI in science, intelligence as an evolutionary scaffold, the limitations of mainstream AI ethics, and why a planetary model of synthetic intelligence must drive its geopolitical project. These themes are central to Antikythera, a program re-orienting planetary computation as a philosophical, technological, and geopolitical force. The lecture will also share recent work from the program’s inaugural design studio, incubated at the Berggruen Institute in Los Angeles.  

RSVP required.

A reception at the Platform Bar will follow the lecture.

Benjamin Bratton is the director of Antikythera and Professor of Philosophy of Technology at University of California San Diego. He is the author of several books including The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty, The Terraforming, and The Revenge of The Real

After Alignment is presented at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London as part of its Planetary Sensing in the City seminar. The seminar is co-produced by CSM MA Narrative Environments, CSM Digital and Emerging Media, and CSM Innovation and Business, and supported by the Creative Action Fund. 

Antikythera is supported by the Berggruen Institute and the One Project Foundation

RSVP for After Alignment: Orienting Synthetic Intelligence Beyond…
Berggruen Institute
June 26, 2023

Thank you for your RSVP.

Berggruen Institute will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.