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The Rhetoric and Reality of Anthropomorphism in Artificial Intelligence | SpringerLink
"Artificial intelligence (AI) has historically been conceptualized in anthropomorphic terms. Some algorithms deploy biomimetic designs in a deliberate attempt to effect a sort of digital isomorphism of the human brain. Others leverage more general learning strategies that happen to coincide with popular theories of cognitive science and social epistemology. In this paper, I challenge the anthropomorphic credentials of the neural network algorithm, whose similarities to human cognition I argue are vastly overstated and narrowly construed. I submit that three alternative supervised learning methods—namely lasso penalties, bagging, and boosting—offer subtler, more interesting analogies to human reasoning as both an individual and a social phenomenon. Despite the temptation to fall back on anthropomorphic tropes when discussing AI, however, I conclude that such rhetoric is at best misleading and at worst downright dangerous. The impulse to humanize algorithms is an obstacle to properly conceptualizing the ethical challenges posed by emerging technologies."
to:NB  anthropomorphism  artificial_intelligence  neural_networks  ensemble_methods  lasso  rhetoric 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
Animals, Anthropomorphism and Mediated Encounters: 1st Edition (Hardback) - Routledge
"This book critically investigates the pervasiveness of anthropomorphised animals in popular culture.

Anthropomorphism in popular visual media has long been denounced for being unsophisticated or emotionally manipulative. It is often criticised for over-expressing similarities between humans and other animals. This book focuses on everyday encounters with visual representations of anthropomorphised animals and considers how attributing other animals with humanlike qualities speaks to a complex set of power relations. Through a series of case studies, it explores how anthropomorphism is produced and circulated and proposes that it can serve to create both misunderstandings and empathetic connections between humans and other animals.

This book will appeal to academics and students interested in visual media, animal studies, sociology and cultural studies."
animalstudies  animals  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  anthropomorphism  multispecies  morethanhuman  culture  visual  books  claireparkinson 
august 2019 by robertogreco
An AI conference warns us why we need to mind our language | New Scientist issue 3212, Jan 2019
"We’re using the wrong words to talk about artificial intelligence."

"Language is at the heart of the problem. In his 2007 book, The Emotion Machine, computer scientist Marvin Minsky deplored (although even he couldn’t altogether avoid) the use of “suitcase words”: his phrase for words conveying specialist technical detail through simple metaphors. Think what we are doing when we say metal alloys “remember” their shape, or that a search engine offers “intelligent” answers to a query."

"Without metaphors and the human tendency to personify, we would never be able to converse, let alone explore technical subjects, but the price we pay for communication is a credulity when it comes to modelling how the world actually works. No wonder we are outraged when AI doesn’t behave intelligently. But it isn’t the program playing us false, rather the name we gave it."

"Earlier this year in a public forum [Turkish-born Memo Akten, based at Somerset House in London] threatened to strangle a kitten whenever anyone in the audience personified AI, by talking about “the AI”, for instance."
NewScientist  language  quotes  metaphor  thinking  cognition  AI  anthropomorphism  culture 
may 2019 by pierredv
Frans de Waal, "What I Learned From Tickling Apes," The New York Times
"Accusations of anthropomorphism are about as big a spoiler in cognitive science as suggestions of doping are of athletic success. The indiscriminate nature of these accusations has been detrimental to cognitive science, as it has kept us from developing a truly evolutionary view. In our haste to argue that animals are not people, we have forgotten that people are animals, too."
FransDeWaal  NYT  op-ed  science  anthropomorphism  primatology  intelligence  species 
january 2019 by briansholis
Two Keyboards at a Bar • Rands in Repose
<p><em>APPLE EXTENDED II sits at the bar nursing a Macallan 18. Next to him is MACBOOK PRO who has not taken a sip of his glass of water.</em>

APPLE EXTENDED II: Lonely times, man. Lonely times. First, it was scissors then butterflies. Do you want to know what I miss? Electric Alps switches. That was the dream, right?

MACBOOK PRO (nervous, staring at the bar, napkins in both hands): Did you clean up before I sat down? It looks clean, but…

APPLE EXTENDED II (interrupting): Kids today. They don’t appreciate the reliable, credible haptic feedback of a single healthy keystroke. It’s all hunt, peck, and swipe swipe swipe.

TOUCHBAR (arrives): Hey! Nobody told me we were going out to drinks . This is great!

APPLE EXTENDED II: Wait, who invited him?

MACBOOK PRO: Sorry, we’re a package deal. It’s not…</p>


Brilliant. Stemming, of course, from John Gruber's wonderful <a href="https://daringfireball.net/2005/09/anthropomorphized">"The iTunes 5 Announcement From the Perspective of an Anthropomorphized Brushed Metal User Interface Theme"</a>, <a href="https://daringfireball.net/2006/01/brushed_metal">"iLife ’06 From the Perspective of an Anthropomorphized Brushed Metal Interface"</a> and <a href="https://daringfireball.net/2007/06/brushed_metal_leopard">"An Anthropomorphized Brushed Metal Interface Theme Shows Up for the WWDC Preview Build of Mac OS X Leopard"</a>, from 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively.
apple  hardware  keyboard  anthropomorphism 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Eyes to C, Arms to E – About face – Medium
About human anatomy and anthropomorphism in font design.
typography  anthropomorphism 
march 2018 by gunsch
Deleting the Human Clause, Damien Williams « Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective
"Animal Constructions and Technological Knowledge is Ashley Shew’s debut monograph and in it she argues that we need to reassess and possibly even drastically change the way in which we think about and classify the categories of technology, tool use, and construction behavior. Drawing from the fields of anthropology, animal studies, and philosophy of technology and engineering, Shew demonstrates that there are several assumptions made by researchers in all of these fields—assumptions about intelligence, intentionality, creativity and the capacity for novel behavior.

Many of these assumptions, Shew says, were developed to guard against the hazard of anthropomorphizing the animals under investigation, and to prevent those researchers ascribing human-like qualities to animals that don’t have them. However, this has led to us swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction, engaging in “a kind of speciesist arrogance” which results in our not ascribing otherwise laudable characteristics to animals for the mere fact that they aren’t human.[1]

Shew says that we consciously and unconsciously appended a “human clause” to all of our definitions of technology, tool use, and intelligence, and this clause’s presumption—that it doesn’t really “count” if humans aren’t the ones doing it—is precisely what has to change."

[via: http://orbitaloperations.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/d/5234D06A0B7819B52540EF23F30FEDED/C672A3FAD68B88BDC68C6A341B5D209E ]
ashleyshew  2018  books  animals  multispecies  morethanhuman  tools  technology  intelligence  humanclause  speciesism  intentionality  creativity  behavior  anthropomorphism 
february 2018 by robertogreco
moovelLab - who wants to be a self-driving car?
Nice… how about s/thing similar for “algorithms”, algo decisionmaking, etc? “Who wants to be a self-driving car?”
autonomousVehicles  TM129  empathy  anthropomorphism  robomorphism  reverseAnthropomorphism  from twitter
october 2017 by psychemedia
What Animals Taught Me About Being Human - The New York Times
"Surrounding myself with animals to feel less alone was a mistake: The greatest comfort is in knowing their lives are not about us at all."



"Animals don’t exist in order to teach us things, but that is what they have always done, and most of what they teach us is what we think we know about ourselves. The purpose of animals in medieval bestiaries, for example, was to give us lessons in how to live. I don’t know anyone who now thinks of pelicans as models of Christian self-sacrifice, or the imagined couplings of vipers and lampreys as an allegorical exhortation for wives to put up with unpleasant husbands. But our minds still work like bestiaries. We thrill at the notion that we could be as wild as a hawk or a weasel, possessing the inner ferocity to go after the things we want; we laugh at animal videos that make us yearn to experience life as joyfully as a bounding lamb. A photograph of the last passenger pigeon makes palpable the grief and fear of our own unimaginable extinction. We use animals as ideas to amplify and enlarge aspects of ourselves, turning them into simple, safe harbors for things we feel and often cannot express.

None of us see animals clearly. They’re too full of the stories we’ve given them. Encountering them is an encounter with everything you’ve ever learned about them from previous sightings, from books, images, conversations. Even rigorous scientific studies have asked questions of animals in ways that reflect our human concerns. In the late 1930s, for example, when the Dutch and Austrian ethologists Niko Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz towed models resembling flying hawks above turkey chicks, they were trying to prove that these birds hatched with a hard-wired image resembling an airborne bird of prey already in their minds that compelled them to freeze in terror. While later research has suggested it is very likely that young turkeys actually learn what to fear from other turkeys, the earlier experiment is still valuable, not least for what it says about human fears. To me it seems shaped by the historical anxieties of a Europe threatened for the first time by large-scale aerial warfare, when pronouncements were made that “the bomber will always get through,” no matter how tight the national defense."



"For some weeks, I’ve been worried about the health of family and friends. Today I’ve stared at a computer screen for hours. My eyes hurt. My heart does, too. Feeling the need for air, I sit on the step of my open back door and see a rook, a sociable species of European crow, flying low toward my house through gray evening air. Straightaway I use the trick I learned as a child, and all my difficult emotions lessen as I imagine how the press of cooling air might feel against its wings. But my deepest relief doesn’t come from imagining I can feel what the rook feels, know what the rook knows — instead, it’s slow delight in recognizing that I cannot. These days I take emotional solace from understanding that animals are not like me, that their lives are not about us at all. The house it’s flying over has meaning for both of us. To me, it is home. To a rook? A way point on a journey, a collection of tiles and slopes, useful as a perch or a thing to drop walnuts on in autumn to make them shatter and let it winkle out the flesh inside.

Then there is something else. As it passes overhead, the rook tilts its head to regard me briefly before flying on. And with that glance I feel a prickling in my skin that runs down my spine, and my sense of place shifts. The rook and I have shared no purpose. For one brief moment we noticed each other, is all. When I looked at the rook and the rook looked at me, I became a feature of its landscape as much as it became a feature of mine. Our separate lives, for that moment, coincided, and all my anxiety vanished in that one fugitive moment, when a bird in the sky on its way somewhere else pulled me back into the world by sending a glance across the divide."
animals  multispecies  posthumanism  humans  2017  helenmacdonald  crows  corvids  rooks  thomasnagel  birds  nature  wildlife  human-animalrelations  anthropomorphism  human-animalrelationships  nikotinbergen  konradlorenz 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Request: Winchesters/various, anthropomorphism
The Impala is an asexual being and would really appreciate it if the Winchesters would stop having sex on her back seat. Also, if the could tidy up a bit more often after eating, that would be great.

Anthropomorphic Impala, unintentional voyeurism, unintentional exhibitionism, dub con
:spn  fps  pairing:dean/ofc(s)  pairing:dean/omc(s)  pairing:sam/omc(s)  pairing:sam/ofc(s)  anthropomorphism 
november 2016 by Mayalaen
Request: Dean or Sam or Cas, sentient teddy bear, underage extreme
Could be Dean or Sam or Cas. Somehow a teddy bear comes alive and is anatomically correct when it wants to be (has a penis and asshole) and it teach Dean/Sam/Cas how to fuck and get fucked. Dean/Sam/Cas can be anywhere between 4 - 9. Do not age them up.

If you want, you can have the teddy bear teach Dean/Sam/Cas how to have sex with another kid or the family dog or whatever you want, just no noncon or scat.
:spn  underage  fps  anthropomorphism  pairing:dean/omd(s)  pairing:sam/omd(s)  pairing:castiel/omd(s) 
september 2016 by Mayalaen

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