ethology of AI

ethology of AI

What are the implications of taking the animality of AI and A-Life entities as real and not metaphorical or symbolic? This question in turn demands ontological questions of the synthetic animal itself: what kinds of speciation gives rise to it, what habitats and what kinds of behaviour shape its existence, and how might the status […] more…
not not animals

not not animals

Does it make any sense to consider virtual animals as animal in any serious way? Both the naturalistically-rendered wolves of Legend of Zelda: the breath of the wild and the chatty anthropomorphised citizens of the Animal Crossing games are inorganic abstractions, assemblages of animated drawings, behavioural algorithms and audio clips. Their material substrates – digital/electronic […] more…
postindustrial playground

postindustrial playground

[For all the changes to children’s playground equipment from the Edwardian era to today], the proprioceptic and vertiginous pleasures of swinging and sliding persist, and children in playgrounds today are still largely climbing on, swinging through, and sliding down industrial forms and engineering.  This kinaesthetic dynamic is not an eloquent or easily translatable language, but […] more…
Unbox: The speed and slowness of Lucy, Batman, Batman, Gandalf, and Dumbledore

Unbox: The speed and slowness of Lucy, Batman, Batman, Gandalf, and Dumbledore

Microethology of toys-to-life (from proposal for Toy Theory book)   – I’m going to build Dumbledore [sings:] Dumbledore, Dumbledore… – Technically, you’re building Gandalf [They rip open the small plastic bags containing LEGO pieces and minfigs] – [In a gruff voice] I only use black and very very very dark grey… Why am I quoting […] more…
game | death | worlds

game | death | worlds

I compiled this sometime in the mid-2000s, as a curated list for Furtherfield. Riffing on gameworlds and lifeworlds, it resonates nicely with my current writing, but with a morbid twist… a study of the materiality and imaginary of artificial life in which most of the links and projects, and hence their animate entities, are now […] more…
one or several artificial wolves

one or several artificial wolves

Link encounters a group of animals on a green, grassy hillside, beautifully animated in the rich landscape. Large birds, and a wild boar, promise meat if successfully hunted. As the player-avatar approaches, carefully, to within range of his bow and arrow he spots a wolf tracking a wide A* path through the immediate environment. Proximity […] more…
toy-being

toy-being

Attention to toys as technical objects troubles the prevailing notion of technological development as driven by the identification and satisfaction of material, practical and instrumental needs for human society and economy. Toys are technical, machinic, operational, they often have moving parts, i.e. they are machines in their own right, and even non-articulated toys have their […] more…
Animal Crossing and utopia in a time of crisis

Animal Crossing and utopia in a time of crisis

Note: the conversation that triggered this short piece has contributed to an article by Samuel Horti in the New Statesman.   The release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons on March 20th 2020 has proved a remarkable moment of serendipity for both Nintendo and old fans and new players of the Animal Crossing games. Characterised by […] more…
an imaginary system

an imaginary system

Whilst the cultural, representational, ideological and economic assumptions that feed and are fed by imaginaries can be uncovered and subject to critique, imaginaries are no mere whimsy, but obdurate and operational phenomena – they have their own reality and agency. LEGO privilege is nothing if not a technological imaginary, predicated on and sustained by the […] more…
AI and the future of play

AI and the future of play

Placeholder for a position statement on my current research and teaching on the genealogy and emergent dimensions of artificial intelligence in play and technoculture. more…
AI and games

AI and games

Workshop with level 3 Games Design & Art students, October 2019 references: Giddings, Seth 2014 ‘Soft worlds and AI’ (extract from chapter 3 of) Gameworlds: virtual media and children’s everyday play. New York: Bloomsbury. http://www.microethology.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Soft-Worlds-and-AI.pdf Giddings, Seth 2007 ‘Playing with nonhumans: videogames as technocultural form’, in Suzanne de Castell & Jen Jenson (eds) Worlds in […] more…
toying with the singularity

toying with the singularity

My chapter on the design of playful AI and robotics – and the relationships between the material, the technical and the imaginary – is in The Internet of Toys: practices, affordances and the political economy of children’s smart play, edited by Giovanna Mascheroni and Donell Holloway (Palgrave 2019). Titled ‘Toying with the singularity: AI, automata and […] more…
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