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    Imagining the thinking machine: technological myths and the rise of Artificial Intelligence

    Natale, S. and Ballatore, Andrea (2020) Imagining the thinking machine: technological myths and the rise of Artificial Intelligence. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 26 (1), pp. 3-18. ISSN 1354-8565.

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    This article discusses the role of technological myths in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies from 1950s to the early 1970s. It shows how the rise of AI was accompanied by the construction of a powerful cultural myth: the creation of a thinking machine, which would be able to perfectly simulate the cognitive faculties of the human mind. Based on a content analysis of articles on Artificial Intelligence published in two magazines, the Scientific American and the New Scientist, which were aimed at a broad readership of scientists, engineers, and technologists, three dominant patterns in the construction of the AI myth are identified: (1) the recurrence of analogies and discursive shifts, by which ideas and concepts from other fields were employed to describe the functioning of AI technologies; (2) a rhetorical use of the future, imagining that present shortcomings and limitations will shortly be overcome; (3) the relevance of controversies around the claims of AI, which we argue should be considered as an integral part of the discourse surrounding the AI myth.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Artificial Intelligence, technological myth, media imaginary, history of computing, new media, software studies, cybernetics, scientific controversies, intelligent machines
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Data Analytics, Birkbeck Institute for
    Depositing User: Andrea Ballatore
    Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2017 13:23
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:33


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