Since its inception in the 1950s, the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been nurtured by the dream, cherished by some scientists while dismissed as unrealistic by others, that it will lead to forms of consciousness similar or alternative to human life. Yet, AI might be more accurately described as a range of technologies providing a convincing illusion of intelligence – in other words, not much the creation of intelligent beings, but rather of technologies that are perceived by humans as such.

Drawing from the history of AI from the Turing Test to contemporary voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, but also from comparisons with the history of spiritualism and pre-digital media histories, Professor Simone Natale will argue that AI resides also and especially in the perception of human users. The talk presents materials from his new monograph, Deceitful Media: Artificial Intelligence and Social Life after the Turing Test, out with Oxford University Press in March 2021.