ChatGPT: towards AI subjectivity

AI and Society 39:1-15 (2024)
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Motivated by the question of responsible AI and value alignment, I seek to offer a uniquely Foucauldian reconstruction of the problem as the emergence of an ethical subject in a disciplinary setting. This reconstruction contrasts with the strictly human-oriented programme typical to current scholarship that often views technology in instrumental terms. With this in mind, I problematise the concept of a technological subjectivity through an exploration of various aspects of ChatGPT in light of Foucault’s work, arguing that current systems lack the reflexivity and self-formative characteristics inherent in the notion of the subject. By drawing upon a recent dialogue between Foucault and phenomenology, I suggest four techno-philosophical desiderata that would address the gaps in this search for a technological subjectivity: embodied self-care, embodied intentionality, imagination and reflexivity. Thus I propose that advanced AI be reconceptualised as a subject capable of “technical” self-crafting and reflexive self-conduct, opening new pathways to grasp the intertwinement of the human and the artificial. This reconceptualization holds the potential to render future AI technology more transparent and responsible in the circulation of knowledge, care and power.

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Kristian D'Amato
Copenhagen Business School


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