Allusive Machines: Encounters with Android Life

Monday 1 October 2018
Organisers or author: 
Jannik Friberg Lindegaard, Lars Rune Christensen

Full paper.

On the basis of an ethnographic field study among artificial life researchers, this article proposes the concept of allusivemachinesto describe how technical systems variously allude people into shaping their own beliefs. The concept of allusive machines is inspired by previous research on persuasivetechnology, which defines technologies as instruments with the explicit purpose of changing human attitudes and behaviours, and the notion of theorymachines, which refers to how objects in the world stimulate new theoretical formulations. We particularly introduce the concept of allusive machines to the analysis of how robot technology operates allusively to hatch new ideas and knowledge about life, for both designers in the laboratory as well as general publics during demonstrations. Focusing on Alter, an android based on artificial neuronal networks, we show how the concept of allusive machines is useful to rethink the relationship between designers and users analytically by showing how technical systems, like Alter, become allusiveto human thinking and acting.