Past Events: Katherine Hayles Guest Talk

On May 3rd, distinguished professor N. Katherine Hayles gave a guest talk co-hosted by CMCW and the AMT Research Group at WSA. 

Professor N. Katherine Hayles, Duke University, is the James B. Duke Professor of Literature. She teaches and writes on the relations of literature, science and technology in the 20th and 21st century. Her books How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics won the Rene Wellek Prize for the Best Book in Literary Theory, and Writing Machines won the Suzanne Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship. Her most recent book is Unthought: The Power of the Cognitive Nonconscious. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Academia Europaea.

“Cybersemiosis: Meaning-Making in Humans, Nonhumans and Computational Media”

At least since Searle’s Chinese Room thought experiment, a widespread perception is that computers merely match patterns and understand nothing.  However, this view depends on an intensely anthropocentric view of meaning.  Drawing inspiration from biosemiotics, this talk will argue for a radically different view of meaning-making practices in computational media: cybersemiosis.  Cybersemiosis provides a theoretically robust way to understand how human-technical assemblages work to create new kinds of meanings and how these interact with nonhuman lifeforms to create a planetary cognitive ecology.


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