‘A Demonology of Algorithms’ with Mark Pesce

On how we might better understand our relationship to algorithms and artificial intelligence

Douglas Rushkoff
Jan 19 · 2 min read

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Playing for Team Human today; technologist, futurist, inventor and mage Mark Pesce. In this conversation with Douglas, part two of a live Team Human show at Civic Hall, Pesce offers a thought-provoking frame through which we might better understand our relationship to algorithms and artificial intelligence:

What might you call a creature that feeds on your energy, knows your weaknesses, and can tamper with your emotional state in ways that compel you to act beyond your best interest? Centuries ago we might call this a demon. As algorithms are programmed to exploit humans in order to do their bidding, perhaps it’s time to interrogate the Faustian bargains we make each time we sign up, log in, and click thru.

It’s a fascinating and sinuous conversation that exemplifies the creative ways humans, together in a room, can think about technology and reassert power over the devils lurking in the details.

This episode features an Audience Q&A with both guests; Penny Abeywardena and Mark Pesce.

Today’s show is sponsored by the advertisements we have planted in your dreams…

But you can also support us by purchasing the new manifesto, Team Human.

Check out Rushkoff’s regular columns right here on Medium.

On this episode you heard Herkimer Diamonds in the preroll, plus Fugazi’s “Foreman’s Dog” in the intro. We also played Team Human Episode 31 guest R.U. Sirius in the transition and outro music thanks to the mighty Mike Watt: beak-holding-letter-man.

Douglas Rushkoff

Written by

Author of the upcoming book Team Human, and host of the http://TeamHuman.fm podcast.

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