TerrAIforming -- Special Issue on Earth and AI

deadline for submissions: 
December 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Alienocene: Journal of the First Outernational

In July 2023, a tech startup called “Simulation Inc” released an AI technology that the company claims will make it possible to generate entire t.v. episodes—including dialogue, voice acting, animation, and editing—from nothing more than a two-sentence prompt. Somewhat oddly—and provoking suspicion that the project might be a hoax or internet prank—Simulation Inc’s website lists a fake address under their contact info: 500 Baudrillard Drive, San Francisco, CA. 

Regardless of whether “Simulation Inc” turns out to be a genuine company or an elaborate joke, their vision of AI-generated t.v. might indeed portend a very real future. Since the public release of ChatGPT in late 2022, generative AI has continued to advance at a steady pace and examples like Nothing, Forever (an AI-generated Seinfeld parody) naturally provoke questions on the potential future of AI entertainment. But lurking behind these advancements—or dragged through their wake—remains a recurring, historically familiar fear: the fear that any industrial or corporate-backed desire to replace human creativity with artificial intelligence will inevitably aspire to drive out possibilities for human beings to imagine alternative and better worlds. Among other reverberations, such a “cancellation of the future” (F. Berardi, M. Fisher) would likely ensure that those whom the intersecting forces of poverty, capital, and structural inequality have already pushed to the margins would likely find themselves more vulnerable than ever. 

As capital now turns towards the prospect of replacing all human intellectual and creative production with the output of carefully programmed algorithms, by what means (or glitches) might it be possible to co-opt, disrupt, or otherwise redirect the functioning of the machines that populate such fantasies? Is it possible to envision a form of AI that is not subservient to the interests of capitalist development? An AI against Silicon Valley, turning machines against those who give rise to a “scorched earth” (J. Crary)?

Addressing old and new anxieties and hopes surrounding the emergence of contemporary AI technologies, Alienocene: Journal of the First Outernational seeks contributions for a special issue on AI. Contributors are invited to interrogate the ways that AI promises to reframe reality and futurity at the same time that corporations and capitalism reframe AI itself. What is AI exactly? What kinds of “intelligence” might it assume or deny? Is AI a new species launched onto the surface of the planet? And how might we redefine or reconceptualize life on a planet that will increasingly be terraformed by AI?

Alienocene is particularly interested in experimental writing, speculative fictions, short essays (3000 words), and other modes that do not necessarily follow the conventions of academic prose. As such, submissions might take one (or multiple) of many forms, including written texts, interviews and collaborative conversations, visual art, or video. 

Submissions should be sent to AlienoceneJournal@gmail by December 15, 2023 and include “AI special issue” in the subject line.